Political parties here in Wales seem to be "getting worse" at selecting candidates from a diverse background, not better. That’s the view of the two latest guests in ITV Wales’ podcast The New Normal with Adrian Masters.
They’re two people with long experience in Welsh politics, both behind the scenes and as a candidate.
Helen Antoniazzi, who’s now Director of Policy and Communications at the equality charity Chwarae Teg, used to be Chief of Staff to the then Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.
She tells the podcast that candidate selection so far for next year’s Welsh Parliamentary elections appears to be taking a step backwards.
Listen to The New Normal with Adrian Masters:
Helen Antoniazzi said: "From what I can see in terms of the people who are being selected for election at the moment, it worries me that we’re not going to see a good gender balance and not much diversity if at all in the Senedd… We need to make sure that positive action is in place.
“If a parliament is going to make decisions for people then it needs to represent and reflect those people and their realities and their experiences.”
It’s shameful that in Wales we’ve got a parliament that sits in one of the most diverse parts of the UK and yet we haven’t had a single BAME female member of the Senedd elected in the 20 plus years that it’s existed.
Helen is joined by Natasha Asghar who has stood in the past as a candidate but who tells the podcast that she’s been put off in part by some of the negative experiences of her father, the late MS Mohammad Asghar.
Natasha speaks movingly about her father, known affectionately as ‘Oscar’ who died of a heart attack in June, a period she describes as “perhaps the worst time of my existence.”
And she explains how lockdown made things worse.
“Certain things we would have done, we would have done religious prayers for him - we weren’t able to do because of Covid.”
Hear both of them talk about women in politics, Senedd elections, what you can can get away with wearing in video conferencing meetings and, believe it or not, the benefits of being a professional matchmaker in a world of online dating.
It’s the sort of conversation you can only get in the New Normal with Adrian Masters. You can find it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
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