An open Letter to Senedd 2021 Candidates
The 2021 Senedd election follows one of the most challenging years in modern history. Beginning with floods, a global pandemic and ending with us leaving the EU; 2020 was a year in which many of our communities were devastated, our industries taken to the brink of collapse, and our views and opinions driven further apart by the toxicity of our politics and the dominance of dangerous online discourse.
It is for this reason that I write this open letter, a plea to you and your fellow candidates to conduct your campaigns in a way that will not further this divide; or capitalise on the grief, loss and hardships faced by communities across Wales.
Please behave responsibly, ethically, and with the knowledge that your words and actions have consequence.
Our politics has never been more divisive and party politics has turned into a tribalistic tirade of witticism over constructive criticism, point scoring over people, and a constant passing of blame that often sees little outcome for the people at the heart of the topic- the public you hope to serve.
We have seen throughout the pandemic a dangerous blame game being played from all sides of the political spectrum, a game that has caused a serious lack of confidence in important public health measures that need to be followed to save lives and protect the NHS. That is not to say proper and just scrutiny cannot take place, but public grandstanding and political point scoring centred on the virus cannot become the norm over these next few crucial months.
Far too often an individual or party-political narrative can become fixated on the believed flaws in another party’s policy as opposed to the promotion and discussion of ones own position. This again is something we cannot afford in this election. If you believe in your policies, put your energy, your resource, and your experience into promoting your solutions to some of our most pressing issues instead of making it about why you think the other side has not or will not address it.
With 16 and 17 year olds being given the vote for the first time, it has never been more important to show that politics can be kinder, more discussive and more cooperative than the poor examples we have seen in years of late. We cannot afford to pass down a legacy of bickering, name calling and stubbornness that often echo out of the Senedd chamber.
As more young people have more reason to engage in politics, let’s show them how it can be done right, done fairly, done properly. More of the same arguments perpetuated by party echo chambers cannot infect the young political talent that hopes to rise up the ranks. We need to show the next generation that you can respectfully and constructively disagree on a subject. That you can promote your opinion or idea without having to belittle or bastardise others. That disagreement can be healthy and doesn’t have to equate to treating each other as enemies.
This election is our chance to change the course of our politics, of our society. As a candidate you can help make this an election of kindness, fairness, and cooperation; or you can deliver more of the same and widen the divide that threatens us all.
The scenes in America have shown us what can happen at the peak of societal division that is amplified and exploited by politicians. We can do better. We must do better.
Best of luck and I hope that you make the right choices for you and the people of Wales.