People often tell me that they cannot stand politics or that they hate politicians. I know what they mean. For most of my life politics has been dominated by politicians who seem to be fuelled by their hatred of the opposition, rather than by their desire to improve the lives of the people who voted for them in the first place.
My perspective began to change when I worked as a civil servant for the Welsh Assembly and saw first hand the dedication and commitment of many national and local politicians. On the retirement of Andrew Davies AM, I asked him if he thought I might add value if I sought election in Swansea. Following an unsuccessful attempt as a candidate in Fairwood ward in 2012, I was honoured to be chosen to represent my home area, Cockett ward, in 2017.
At a seminar in Carmarthen last year, students asked why they should get involved with politics if they have such negative views of political activity. My response was to ask them how they would feel if there was a meeting in an adjoining room where matters directly relevant to their lives and those of their families were being discussed: would they want to be involved or would they be content to sit in the seminar room with me? There was unanimous agreement that they would waste no time in joining the debate next door so that they could fight their corner. However, none of them were politically active.
Social media has a place, but if you find yourself in keyboard-warrior mode - sitting in your pants late at night, three sheets to the wind, setting the world to rights, I think you are doing it wrong. Get involved. Why not go out and meet people who are making a difference to your community? Why not join a political party and see what you think for yourself? At least you will be in the same room as the decision-makers.