Referendum Special

On Thursday 3rd March the referendum on more law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly takes place. And Welsh people will be asked to visit the polls in May for the Assembly elections and the referendum on changing the voting system. But how likely are we to take the time to vote? Are we more likely to back our favourites in shows such as X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, than put a cross on a ballot paper? In this week's Eye on Wales, Bethan Rhys Roberts asks - as people take to the streets in the Middle East to fight for democracy - are we in this country becoming ever more apathetic about politics and voting?

Last updated: 25 February 2011

The programme sends veteran Welsh politician, Lord Anderson of Swansea, out to take the political temperature as we approach this week's referendum.

The former Swansea East MP has seen voting numbers decrease over the decades since he first became involved in politics.

"Over the many years I've spent in politics there has been a decline in the number of people taking part in politics," he says.

"It's extremely worrying and I look forward with a certain hesitation about what will happen, not only for the referendum on greater powers for the Assembly, but also on the elections we'll hold on the alternative vote and the other elections on May 5th."

Lord Anderson speaks to former Lord Mayor of Swansea, Paul Valerio, as well as historian Peter Stead about the reasons behind the decline in voters. He also visits Swansea Market to ask people whether they will be turning up at the ballot box.

First time voter Imogen Young speaks to Jenny Willott, Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, about whether perceived broken promises - such as the Liberal Democrats' u-turn on tuition fees - turns people off voting. She also looks at whether we need to modernise the voting process to connect with young voters.

Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, and Professor Roger Scully, the director of the Institute of Welsh Politics at Aberystwyth University, discuss why turnout is declining and what can be done to encourage people to turn up rather than turn off when it comes to voting.


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