Four members of Swansea’s A4D planning group travelled on Saturday 19th March to Cardiff’s Senedd – the home of the National Assembly for Wales. They’d been invited to take part in a special day of events celebrating the end of the first phase of the National Theatre of Wales’ 3-year long Big Democracy Project.
In a programme including performances by theatre groups, poets and musicians, A4D’s invitation to a half-hour slot attracted around 60 people:
‘Democracy, if ever alive is now ‘more dead’ than living; its semblance just a sham. The little life left in it is being stealthily stifled by the greed and manipulative grip of the corporations controlling people’s freedom and gravely endangering this planet.
So join us in designing, building and operating a richer, deeper form of direct democracy.
This half-hour introductory session shares a snapshot of what has already begun.
We’ll be using all the means available to explore a fairer future based on people powered free expression and collaborative actions for sustainable living.’
Helen Johns, from the teachers union NASUWT, gave a passionate account of the battle with Swansea Council to prevent the termination, without any consultation of parents and children, of an Education Service in Trehafod clinic, for some of Swansea’s most vulnerable children – Child and Adolescent Mental Health pupils, that led her to A4D after she realised that local democracy is broken.
A4D convenor Gerry Gold widened the focus from the local to the national and global explaining that we were re-imagining democracy in response to the rapid growth of inequality, showing how the system of corporations had merged with parliamentary democracy transferring wealth from the 99% to the 1%.
With the majority of the audience waving mobile phones in the air, Peter Anderson invited them to sign-on there and then to the Wales country group on digital democracy platform Vocaleyes and respond to the question ‘How can we bring democracy to life in Wales? First up was a seven year-old, showing everyone the way, with a proposal for a free Legoland in Cardiff!!
A4D’s performance evoked a lively participation – vocally, digitally and on paper, with the local Women’s Equality Party candidate Ruth Williams sharing a photo-opportunity on facebook and twitter.