Report on Secular Wales Questionnaire Senedd Election 2016

 

The Questions

1. Do you agree that the absence of religious belief should not cause disadvantage in political life or in the delivery and use of public services? YES/NO

2. Do you agree that state schools financed by general taxation should generally be secular community schools rather than faith schools? YES/NO

3. Do you agree that Christian collective worship is inappropriate in non-religious state schools? YES/NO

4. Do you agree that the chaplains providing pastoral care for religious patients in NHS hospitals should be financed by a charitable trust rather than, as at present, from the NHS Wales budget. YES/NO

5. Do you agree that forms of religious worship (e g prayers) are not appropriate to be included in the business of democratically elected assemblies (e.g. Borough, County and Community Council meetings, Senedd meetings)? YES/NO

List of Respondents

1 2 3 4 5

[Green] Y Y Y N Y

[Green] Y Y Y Y Y

[Green] Y Y Y N Y

[Green] Y Y Y Y Y

[Green] Y Y Y Y Y

[Lib Dem] Y Y Y Y Y

[Lib Dem] Y Y Y N Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y N N Y Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N N Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N Y N

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y Y Y Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N N N

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y Y Y Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y N N N N

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N N N

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N Y Y

[Plaid Cymru] Y Y N Y Y

[UKIP] Y Y N Y Y

[UKIP] R R R R R

[UKIP] Y Y Y Y Y

[UKIP] R R R R R

[UKIP] Y N N N N

[Labour] Y Y N N Y

[Conservative] Y N N N N

[Conservative] Y Y N Y Y

The response rate to the questionnaire was very disappointing. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly the Welsh Labour Party did not supply an email list for candidates despite two requests. It did not even reply to these requests. Only a few Labour candidates were found to have a web site message service or a widely available email address for the election campaign. Of these only one replied.

All the other main parties supplied email access to their candidates centrally. Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats provided Excel pages. The Welsh Conservatives provided a link to a web page giving the required information. The Green Party undertook to distribute the questionnaire by email to all its candidates and UKIP provided an “All Candidates” email address which broadcast the questionnaire to all their candidates. It is worrying that the party of government on the Fourth Assembly was alone in not co-operating with this exercise in democratic access to candidates.

The second reason for disappointment was that the proportion of respondents from the parties was very low. Just 25 candidates replied. By comparison in 2011 a similar questionnaire produced 73 responses from a smaller number of questionnaires distributed.

I fear that the turn-out to this election will be even lower than in 2011. The public are not entirely to blame for being uninvolved in our democracy if candidates are unwilling to answer five simple questions provided weeks before the election.

The questionnaire was not intended to be a poll which provides an analysis of party policy. Since it is not random (candidates may choose if they wish to participate or not) no such analysis is possible.

It is a “snap shot” of the mind-set of the people who offer themselves for office.

A number of candidates stated that they were ministers of religion. They were all prepared to answer YES to question 1 so were in favour of secular governance in principle  but answered NO to all the other questions thus proving they were implacably against secularism in practice.

Some candidates found it difficult to provide a simple YES/NO answer to the questions. They hedged their answers around with provisos and justifications (often self contradictory and/or factually inaccurate). Their answers were interpreted as YES or NO and this decision was returned to them for comment if the disagreed with the interpretation. No such candidate challenged the interpretation.

If you would like to find out if a candidate in your region or constituency responded please email me with your Postcode or address and I will try to reply before end of polling on the 5th May.

Alan Rogers 3rd May 2016

rogers.a@btinternet.com

Advertisements

One response to “Report on Secular Wales Questionnaire Senedd Election 2016

  1. Hi Brian

    My Plaid candidate (and intended vote) is Adam Price.

    Thanks

    Simon

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s