Young people in Wales will soon be able to vote for their preferred candidate to make laws but on the same day they will be barred from choosing the person in charge of enforcing them, and a leading political commentator has described the situation as a “recipe for mass confusion”, The Eye can disclose.
The poll for members of the newly-named Welsh Parliament (WP) formerly the National Assembly for Wales (NAW) will take place next year and 10s of thousands of 16 year olds will be able to vote for the first time, however they will not be able to mark their ballot paper to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).
The leading author and political commentator Russell Deacon said that young people may be puzzled by this anomaly which could lead them to question why law and order issues have not been devolved in Wales.
Professor Deacon is an expert on Welsh political history, and is the author of seven books as well as having written a huge number of academic articles.
He told The Eye: “Young people will be totally perplexed as to how there are two elections held on the same day; in one of which they are deemed too young to vote and in the other they are allowed to do so.
“There is no real explanation, and it is confusing that police commissioners are the responsibility of Westminster and not the Welsh Parliament.
“It may well lead these same young voters to question why law and order issues are not also the responsibility of the Welsh Parliament, as they are with the sister parliaments in Northern Ireland and Scotland“.
The vote for the PCC covering each of the four police forces in Wales was meant to take place this month, but has been delayed because of the lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid19).
The England and Wales polling watchdog, the Electoral Commission, recommended delaying May’s local elections until the autumn to “mitigate” the impact of coronavirus, and officials said there were “growing risks to the delivery of the polls”.
In fact they were delayed for a year in England.
Robert Buckland, the Justice Secretary, said the UK Government chose to delay polling day so that “everyone feels confident they are able to take part”, and added: “Respecting the annual cycle of local government, postponing them seems to me in the circumstance to be the right thing to do”.
Mayoral and local elections were due to take place tomorrow.
Constitution Minister Chloe Smith said the UK Government was “working to facilitate” them, adding: “We continue to work closely with those delivering the elections, while being guided by the evidence and latest advice from medical experts”.
Perhaps advice from political experts can also be taken on board – that the system is a recipe for ‘mass confusion’.
Do any of our readers know of any other country in the world where two elections are held on the same day but in one of them the voters have been disinfranchised by age? Please tell us if you do.
Tomorrow – more controversy about a Welsh TV star who sent kisses to a presenter who re-Tweeted the comments of a man who endorses burning holiday homes and the union flag.
Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his astonishing 36-year award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order the book now!
If you need something to keep the children entertained during these uncertain times (in Welsh) try Ffwlbart Ffred about the amusing stories of Ffred and his pet