I have a confession to make. I was one of the 17 'ordinary' people at the Ask Rhodri session last night. No, I wasn't spying on behalf of Plaid and I didn't ask any tough questions. I was there because of my day to day job so actually stayed silent and listened, which was admittedly a first for me.
It was a shame that there weren't more than a handful of us present, as it was a really interesting night. Rhodri Morgan spoke frankly and honestly in a way that connected with the audience. It was all very relaxed, and everyone who wanted to speak got a chance. The questions and questioning could have been tougher, but still... we Welsh can be terribly polite sometimes! Plus, since he's retiring I think people know that there's little he can actually achieve now - far better to focus your anger and ideas at those who will still be elected members.
I don't know why more people didn't turn up. Being the political nerd that I am, I'd actually turned up early to make sure I got a seat. It was very disappointing that they didn't have to turn anyone away. I honestly thought it was going to be full of people. After all, its not every day that you get the chance to ask the First Minister a question of your choice. It amazes me to think that a Plaid Cymru branch meeting in Montgomeryshire has more people turning up to it, more than double the numbers in actual fact!
Despite the low turnout, I'm still glad I went and I would encourage anyone to go along in the future. The Museum certainly got an interesting answer to the question we submitted, and it was obvious that Rhodri is fully informed and interested in our collections. But really, its the typical voters that should have been leading the way last night rather than organisations. Voter apathy is a challenge every political party faces, and there's no easy answer. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try though, and I hope the assembly continues to hold events such as this one in the future. I'll certainly be there but it would be nice to have some company as well!
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