Senedd Election 2021 What’s it all about?

By now, you will have received at least ten flyers through your door from representatives standing in this year’s Senedd Election (did a quick count of my bundle on the dining table!).

But what does it all mean? What are we voting for? Who are we voting for? Read on to find out…

Understanding the Election

OK, so I’ll admit, I always vote.  I’m a Welsh woman; it’s pretty mandatory stuff.  Have I always fully understood the elections I’m voting in or what the parties stand for?  Erm, no, I’ll admit that I haven’t, but I’ve been determined to fully understand the upcoming Senedd Elections on the 6th of May and make an informed decision.

The thing is, when it comes to politics, my brain goes into scrambled egg mode (aaaaaargh, I don’t understand what you’re saying!  Stop talking to me!) or spaghetti mode (but there are so many strands; how am I supposed to get them all?).  Determined to get it right this time, I’ve looked into it and broken it down into bite-size chunks.

The election decides who will speak on our behalf in parliament and make decisions affecting aspects of our lives.

The Senedd is the devolved parliament for Wales and is completely separate to the Welsh Government. The Senedd checks the work of the Welsh Government, making sure plans for spending money or running services is done in the best way possible for Wales.  Our votes decide which party forms the next Welsh Government.

If you’re over 16 and live in Wales, you can voice on 6 May 2021 in the Senedd Election.  The Senedd recently lowered the voting age to 16 and allowed foreign nationals living in Wales to vote in Welsh elections.

When voting to elect members of the Senedd, we have two votes: one for a member to represent our constituency, and one to represent our Welsh region.  We are then represented by five Members of the Senedd (MSs). One for our constituency and four for the region of Wales we live in. 

Here, in Splott, we are in the South Wales Central regional area and our regional members are currently Gareth Bennett (Independent), Andrew RT Davies (Welsh Conservative Party), Neil McEvoy (Propel), David Melding (Welsh Conservative Party).

We are in the Cardiff South and Penarth Constituency and our constituency member of the Senedd is Vaughan Gething, Welsh Labour (and Minister for Health and Social Services).

So, we get two votes; simple, got it, but here’s the thing; they’re selected in different ways! The constituency members are chosen using the first-past-the-post system (meaning that the person who gets most votes is elected and represents us and our constituency in the Senedd) while the regional members are chosen using the Additional Member System, which is designed to help the final make-up of the Senedd better reflect the support for each party across the country.

Here’s how the regional system works:

  • each party or group has a list of people ready to represent each region in Wales;
  • you vote for the party you want to represent your region;
  • each party’s total is divided by 1 + the number of Members of the Senedd it already has in that region who have won constituency seats;
  • the party with the highest total after this calculation gets the next seat and the person on top of its list is elected;
  • this is repeated until all four regional seats have been decided.

Got it? No, me neither! This is the point where my brain goes into scrambled egg mode! Here’s what the Senedd glossary says about the Additional Member System:

“This is the hybrid voting system used to elect Members of the Senedd. It combines elements of first-past-the-post for the 40 constituencies, and proportional representation, where voters select from a list of candidates for each party in five regions, returning a further 20 Members. This helps to overcome the imbalance often associated with first-past-the-post elections.”

Ah, that explains it (!).

In summary, 60 people are voted to the Senedd from across the country to represent Wales and its people (40 constituency and 20 regional).

All constituency and regional members have equal status in the Senedd.

To find out more about the make-up of the Senedd and its current members, scroll to the bottom of the article.

Who are our candidates?

Ah, to the interesting bit!  So just who is asking us to vote for them and why?

Constituency candidates:

Here’s a rundown of the 12 Constituency candidates running to be Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth and hoping for the votes of the people of Splott (and a bit about what they’re promising). We will be able to select one of these candidates.  In alphabetical order: 

Alan Golding – Freedom Alliance Party   

According to the website, Freedom Alliance was formed to provide opposition to the government and state overreach that has been facilitated by the coronavirus crisis in 2020. Their primary aim is to provide an option on the ballot paper for those who oppose and object to this government overreach.

For more on Freedom Alliance Party policies, click here https://freedomalliance.co.uk/policies/

Alan Pick – Reform UK

Reform UK believes that we must reform the way our country is run and managed so that it works properly for the people.  In their view, reform is essential in three areas:

  • Economy
  • Public Sector
  • Institutions

Here are the Reform UK core values: “We must return all our liberties to the people. We must preserve freedom of speech. We must control our borders properly. We must protect our proud heritage from the woke folk and celebrate our nation’s incredible successes.”

Reform UK has published a contract with the people of wales, with the following pledges:

  • Ensure no more lockdowns
  • Clear the NHS backlog caused by Covid
  • Give parents the right to take their children on holiday
  • Build the M4 relief road
  • Reduce the cost of local government

To read more about the three essential reform areas, and to download the contract, click here: https://reformparty.uk/

Alex Wilson – Liberal Democrats

Alex and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are asking for your support to Put Recovery First and build a fairer Wales for all. Alex’s pledges include:

  • Recovery for our Economy – help our high streets, town and city centres, and support small businesses to thrive and adapt.
  • Recovery for our Planet – create a package of investment of £1bn per year to fight the climate emergency.
  • A Caring Recovery – We will provide 24/7 crisis mental health care.

For more information on Welsh Liberal Democrats’ pledges to Wales, click here https://www.welshlibdems.wales/alex-wilson

Angus Hawkins – Gwlad

Gwlad’s logo contains the words Independence, Liberty, Justice, Identity and Heritage.  They say that  ‘the world is full of small countries which have powered ahead, economically and socially, since achieving their independence. We believe that Wales should be one of them: a prosperous, successful independent country enjoying good relations with its neighbours and comfortable in its own skin.’

They have a detailed manifesto, covering welfare and taxation, education, civic service, health, adult social care, economy, tourism, transport and a load more. To read it and find out more about the party, click here: https://gwlad.org/en/

David Rolfe – Independent

David Rolfe says he is an independent voice amongst the political chaos of mainstream parties. His priorities are:

  • A Covid-19 Recovery plan for Wales
  • NHS Recovery and Health & Social Care
  • Free School Meals

You can find out more about David by emailing davidrolfewales@gmail.com or following his social media @davidrolfewales

Helen Westhead – Wales Green Party

Wales Green Party is leading the fight for climate action and a fair society for all in Wales.  They have launched their Green Guarantee with top ten points:

  1. Green new deal and the economy
  2. Climate emergency and nature crisis
  3. Housing
  4. Health and Care
  5. Education
  6. Energy
  7. Transport
  8. Welsh language and culture
  9. Democracy and local government
  10. International

Their strategy has two linked aspects: a massive Green New Deal investment in job creation and wider social investment to lay the basis for a Wellbeing Economy transition.

To find out more about Green Party and their Senedd 2021 manifesto, click here: https://wales.greenparty.org.uk/

Leighton Rowlands – Conservatives

The Conservatives’ call to action is ‘Let’s build a better Wales, with more jobs, better hospitals and first class schools’ and they claim they will achieve this by:

  • Creating 65,000 new jobs
  • Building the M4 relief road and upgrade the A55 and A40
  • Providing better healthcare
  • Hiring 5,000 new teachers

Leighton’s pledges are to:

To find out more about the Welsh Conservatives, click here: https://www.conservatives.wales/

Lisa Peregrine – Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party

This one is pretty straightforward: the aim of the party is to return to a pre-devolution state in Wales and return total control to Westminster. They would like you to vote abolish for:

  • One education system
  • One health service
  • One government.

According to the claim on the website, together we can stop Wales sleepwalking towards independence.

To find out more, or buy some merchandise, click here: https://www.abolishthewelshassembly.co.uk/about/

Matt Friend – Propel

Propel believes that lockdowns are an ineffective and inhumane policy for fighting Coronavirus.  They are campaigning for an end to lockdowns and for Wales not to return to them.

They have created a Contract With Wales with ten acts that they will introduce to Welsh Parliament, if Propel is in government after May 6th.  The ten acts are as follows:


To read more about the Contract With Wales, click here https://www.propel.wales/thecontractwithwales

Nasir Adam – Plaid Cymru

Nasir believes that the most important thing the Senedd should do in the next five years is increase green energy and active travel, build genuine affordable housing, champion social equalities and create sustainable jobs.  His pledges include:

  • Develop affordable homes
  • Ensure genuine social justice for our communities
  • Invest and create more youth provisions
  • Invest in Green Energy and Transportation
  • Create green and sustainable jobs

For more information on Plaid Cymru’s pledges to Wales, click here https://www.partyof.wales/nasir_adam

Paul Campbell – UKIP

Scrap the Assembly, Vote UKIP is the call to action at the top of the UKIP Wales website.  Their election communication asks us to put politicians out of a job (wouldn’t that be them, then?) and states that they will:

  • Demand a referendum to scrap the Sennedd
  • End labour’s ‘Nation of Sanctuary’ for illegal immigrants
  • Fund the NHS and Schools – not Foreign Aid
  • Defend British and Welsh culture
  • Boost the Welsh economy
  • Reverse voting rights for non-citizens

UKIP also supports calls for an M4 relief road referendum.

To read more about UKIP’s pledges, click here: https://www.ukip.wales/

Vaughan Gething – Welsh Labour

Vaughan is committed to delivering for our constituency and fighting to rebuild our country to make a stronger and fairer Wales. Vaughan’s number one priority is keeping you and your family safe.  Vaughan is up for re-election and his pledges include:

  • Recovery after Covid: The biggest catch-up programme in our NHS and schools, and a new medical school in North Wales.
  • A Young Persons’ Guarantee: Work, education or training offer for all under-25s.
  • A Fair Deal for Care: The Real Living Wage for care workers.
  • A Greener Country: Abolish more single-use plastics and create a National Forest for Wales.
  • Safer Communities: More PCSOs on our streets.
  • New Jobs for Wales: Create thousands of jobs in a low-carbon house building revolution.

For more information on Labour’s pledges to Wales, click here https://www.vaughangething.cymru/  

Regional candidates

In the South Wales Central region, we will have one regional vote and can choose from 15 independent candidates or parties. Here’s the list:

  1. Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party https://www.abolishthewelshassembly.co.uk/
  2. Communist Party of Britain
  3. Welsh Conservatives https://www.conservatives.wales/
  4. Green Party https://wales.greenparty.org.uk/
  5. Gwlad https://gwlad.org/en/
  6. Alan Terence Coulthard (Independent) https://equalitymatters.uk/
  7. Welsh Labour https://www.welshlabour.wales/
  8. Welsh liberal Democrats https://www.welshlibdems.wales/
  9. Cymru Sovereign – no More Lockdowns
  10. Plaid Cymru  https://www.plaid.cymru/
  11. Propel https://www.propel.wales/
  12. Reform UK
  13. Trade Union and Socialist Coalition
  14. UKIP https://www.ukip.wales/
  15. Workers Party of Britain https://workerspartybritain.org

How to vote

In order to vote, you have to be registered.  Registration closed at midnight on the 19th April, and if you hadn’t registered by that date, you will be unable to vote in the election. 

Once registered, you will receive a polling card through the post, which you can use to vote on the day, or a postal vote, which you can submit in advance.

Where can I vote?

On May 6th, there will be polling stations across Splott and Tremorfa open between 8am and 10pm where you can go and cast your vote.  Here’s a list:

East Moors Community Centre, Sanquhar Street, Splott

The Old Library, Singleton Road, Splott
Oasis Cardiff, Splott Road, Splott

Moorland STAR, Moorland Road, Splott

Baden Powell Junior School, Muirton Road, Tremorfa

Belmont Baptist Church Hall, Tweedsmuir Road/Taymuir Road, Tremorfa

Tremorfa Community Centre, Tweedsmuir Road, Tremorfa

Tesco Extra Pengam Green

For a list of polling stations for our constituency, click here: https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/Your-Council/Voting-and-elections/Information-for-candidates/polling-stations/Pages/default.aspx

What is the Senedd?

You may know the Senedd under a different name. The official name recently changed from ‘National Assembly for Wales’ to ‘Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru’.

The Senedd makes decisions on laws on important areas like health, education, housing and transport.  The home of the Senedd is in Cardiff Bay.

The Senedd is made up of 60 Assembly Members.  40 of them represent local areas (constituencies) and 20 represent the five regions of Wales: North Wales; Mid and West Wales; South Wales West; South Wales East and South Wales Central (which is the region in which Splott falls).

Which parties currently make up the Senedd?

In the 2016 election, Welsh Labour won 29 seats, Plaid Cymru 12, the Welsh Conservatives 11, UKIP (UK Independence Party) 7 and Liberal Democrats one.

The Senedd is currently dissolved before the elections but was made up of the following parties:

Labour: 29 seats (48%), headed up by Mark Drakeford who is the First Minster

Plaid Cymru: 12 seats (20%) headed up by Adam Price

Conservatives: 11 seats (18%) headed up by Andrew R. T. Davies

UKIP: 7 seats (12%) headed up by Gareth Bennett

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (2%) headed up by Jane Dodds

Assembly seats 2021-2016

In order for a party to be voted in with a majority, they need 31 or more votes.

Well, there you have it, my take on the Senedd Elections of 2021.  Hope that sheds a bit of light on things.  Apologies if it makes it even more confusing or if I’ve got any of it completely wrong, but as I said, when it comes to elections, my brain’s usually in scrambled egg or spaghetti bolognese mode.