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South Wales Evening Post column, February 2, 2024

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy News, Newspaper columns South Wales Evening Post column, February 2, 2024

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South Wales Evening Post column, February 2, 2024

Posted By RobertLloyd58

IT’S a sad confession, but my schoolteachers will remember that I was never any good at maths.

Arithmetic was always agony, geometry was grim, algebra always left me anxious – and trigonometry was simply terrible!

The sum total of my mathematical misery is something I have carried with me all my working life – but, with the application of a little common-sense, I do have a nose for when things don’t add up.

For example, there’s something not quite right about the plans for 36 more Senedd politicians – a reform of our Welsh Parliament which cleared its first hurdle with a vote in Cardiff Bay on Tuesday night.

Senedd members voted to back new legislation to expand the Parliament at the next election in 2026.

Is this a good idea, or one which will put further distance between the electorate (ie the man and woman on the street) and their elected members, sitting in the swish surroundings of Cardiff Bay?

The Welsh Parliament – or Senedd, as it is now known after starting life as an ‘Assembly’ – has been going 26 years. But I’m still not sure if I trust it to behave like a well-adjusted, fully-formed adult.

The Senedd still occasionally lapses into behaviour which wouldn’t be out of place in a primary school playground – and don’t get me started on the subject of the lobby groups which have carved out a fast-growing industry feeding off The Bay!

Many Senedd members (in my book, at any rate) fall into the category of superannuated county councillors, promoted a league above their pay grade.

There are some you wouldn’t trust to run that errand and go down town to pick up chips.

Just a small portion of the current 60 members show any evidence of being good at their jobs (NB: This is just my opinion, of course!).

Whether the Senedd numbers game has in any way been influenced by jealous looks over the fence at our neighbours is a matter for debate. The Scottish Parliament has 129 members and the Northern Ireland Assembly (when they finally get around to actually sitting and doing some work) numbers 90 representatives.

Whatever the driving force, there are bits of the new legislation that leave me baffled.

Apparently, seats in the new Senedd will be allocated to parties using the D’Hondt formula.

There we go . . . the word formula conjures up maths nightmares again and sends me into a cold sweat.

Kind souls have explained to me that D’Hondt is just another word for proportional representation. And they have explained further that the plan is that the 96 members will be elected using ‘closed proportional lists’. The seats will be allocated to parties using the D’Hondt formula.

Apparently, the 32 new UK Parliament constituencies in Wales will be paired to create 16 Senedd constituencies for the 2026 Senedd election. Each constituency will elect six members.

In other words, you won’t really decide who you want as your constituency Senedd member. Political party (closed shop) lists will rank the runners and you’ll be given Senedd members based on the number of votes cast for parties.

It means it will be impossible for anyone to get elected as an ‘independent’ Senedd member.

If memory serves me correctly, Trish Law was the last elected independent member back in 2011. (As an aside, the former political editor of this newspaper, the late Brian Walters, enjoyed a spell as Trish’s adviser).

There’s no room in the current reforms for individual (and very able) community candidates to emerge and take on the Big Four parties – Labour, Plaid Cymru, Conservatives and Lib-Dems.

So, we have a Senedd reform that takes away proper choice and gives us more ‘regional’ representatives, rather than people who understand the grass-roots issues of their patch?

No thanks. It doesn’t add up!


IT’S an accepted fact of life that, as you get older, your tolerance levels go down.

It only takes something relatively minor to send you spiralling into a full Victor Meldrew (“I don’t believe it!”) meltdown.

On Saturday, in Swansea, I managed one more meltdown than the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz.

Two things happened – one was a nasty shock to the wallet; the other sparked off a minor environmental crusade.

Let’s deal with the Green issues first . . .

Lunch (in the company of some equally aged former Evening Post colleagues) was taken at a venue best left un-named, just in case we are banned from future attendance.

But, you know the sort of place, a venue where you queue for the privilege of ordering your food, rather than have a waiter take your order.

As you might expect, as the afternoon moved on, drink refills were required.

My order was simple – a bottle of San Miguel and a full fat Coke (other brews and soft drinks are available!).

After round one, I thought I’d make it easy and told the barman, “Just give me the bottles; I’ve got the glasses – and you can save on the washing-up.”

The barman looked at me as if I had two heads and explained it was policy for him to pour the drinks (with not a particularly great degree of accuracy) into fresh glasses.

This panto was repeated through the afternoon and after round three I admitted defeat on my Green bid to save on the glass washing and didn’t bother with the “just give me the bottle” routine.

After a leisurely lunch (designated Coke drinker was driving home) it was time to return to the car, which had been left in the NCP City Gates car park in York Street.

Four hours of parking? Guess how much?

Well, £13.95, actually. Ouch! The pain at the pay kiosk was audible.

That’ll teach us for taking the car instead of using our bus passes!

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