Politics

Cardiff University: Meet the political societies

Cardiff University's political societies
Cardiff University Labour Society with Cardiff Central MP, Jo Stevens (Credit: Joe Shaw).
By Morgan Perry | Political Editor

Ahead of (virtual) Fresher’s Week 2020, Morgan Perry sat down with the heads of Cardiff University’s political societies to discuss their plans for the next year, and find out what they’re most looking forward to.


🔴 Cardiff University Labour Society

President: Joe Shaw
Members:
80
Membership Fee: £2
Events: Aims for one every fortnight.

How are you planning to meet during COVID-19?

Our society has had to switch to virtual events, and these include talks with high profile politicians such as First Minister Mark Drakeford and Counsel General Jeremy Miles. For our virtual socials we will have a mixture of online drink-ups, quizzes and virtual films nights. Post-freshers, there will also be a socially distant meet-up, so new members can meet each other in person.

What’s the political event you’re most looking forward to this year?

The talk with First Minister Mark Drakeford. It should be an interesting event for new students as he outlines an introduction to devolution and the importance of a Welsh Labour government.

What makes Welsh politics so special?

The preciousness of devolution makes Welsh politics special. A devolved parliament allows the Welsh Government to more democratically determine its own future, despite recent criticism of the devolved nations.

You can keep up to date with the Labour Society’s events by heading to the SU website, or following them on Twitter: @LSCaerdydd, or Facebook: @CardiffLabourStudents.


Head of one of Cardiff University's political societies, James Wallice.
President of CUCA, James Wallice (Credit: James Wallice).

🔵 Cardiff University Conservative Association

President: James Wallice
Members: 60
Membership Fee: £3
Events: Aims for one every fortnight.

How are you planning to meet during COVID-19?

Unfortunately, like all of Cardiff University’s political societies, COVID-19 has severely impacted the way in which we would usually go about organising events. We’ve had to scale back the number of in person events we intended on holding this term, and so the majority of our events will be virtual.

In addition to the student political societies like yourselves, how can students get involved with student politics at Cardiff University?

The annual SU AGM is a great way to get involved in student politics, it offers a real opportunity to have your say on the direction of our Students Union.

Another great opportunity is the Student Senate elections that take place every year. Essentially, Student Senate is the Students’ Union’s policy making body where you can propose policy and have it voted on.

What’s the one big political event you’re looking forward to this year?

It’s got to be next May’s Senedd elections. The latest polls say it’s all to play for so make sure you register to vote. Despite the pandemic, we also hope to be on the doorstep speaking to voters in the run up.

What do you think makes politics in Wales so special?

Devolution plays a huge part in making Welsh politics so special and important. Issues such as health, education and the environment are all made within the confines of the Welsh Government building opposite Law & Politics.

A lot of students don’t realise that most of the decisions that impact our lives are actually made by the Welsh Government down in Cardiff Bay – it’s one of the reasons why the Senedd elections are so important!

You can keep up to date with the Conservative Association’s events by heading to the SU website or following them on Twitter and Facebook: @CardiffUniCons.


The committee for one of Cardiff University's political societies.
Credit: Cardiff University Liberal Democrat Society.

🟡 Cardiff University Liberal Democrat Society

President: Matthew Morgan
Members:
13
Membership Fee: Free
Events: No regular schedule; check Facebook.

How are you planning to meet during COVID-19?

We aim to have several meetings in outdoor spaces and over Zoom. Later in the year we hope to visit Brecon to canvass in the Welsh Parliament elections.

In addition to the student political societies like yourselves, how can students get involved with student politics at Cardiff University?

Attend the Students Union AGMs for a chance to vote on motions. It’s quite a fun and interesting experience that will hopefully be possible in some form this year.

The Welsh Parliamentary elections are also coming up. What should students be looking out for?

The Welsh Electoral System is different than it is for the UK in general elections. You have two votes and you vote for a constituency candidate as well as a regional candidate. The allocation of seats can be quite complicated so if you like to vote tactically consider doing some research.

What do you think makes politics in Wales so special?

Wales has a unique and fascinating political history and often defies the wider trends of UK politics. Wales is often overlooked so there is a lot of chance for change to take place here.

You can keep up to date with the Liberal Democrat Society’s events by heading to the SU website, or following them on Twitter: @CardiffLiberal, or Facebook: @CULibDem.


Head of Cardiff University's political societies, Nel Richards.
Nel Richards, President of Plaid Ifanc (Credit: Nel Richards).

🟢 Plaid Ifanc

President: Nel Richards
Members:
30
Membership Fee: £2
Events: Aims for one every month.

How are you planning to meet during COVID-19?

Real life meetings are out of the question, but then technology comes in handy. We’re looking forward for Zoom socials, Q&As with MSs/MPs, talks with candidates from other parts of Wales, and even some virtual debates.

In addition to the student political societies like yourselves, how can students get involved with student politics at Cardiff University?

There’s something for everyone. We’re keen to start debating sessions in Welsh and English so students can fulfil their political potential at university, as well as making new friends.

What should students be looking out for in the upcoming Welsh Parliamentary elections?

More talks on Welsh Independence in the election debates; as well as economic strategies to regenerate the economy after COVID-19. As a party, and the government’s strategy to teach the target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, we’ll be holding more debates on how to reach the target.

What do you think makes politics in Wales so special?

Plaid makes our politics interesting and distinctive. With a wide political spectrum, as well as having a bilingual government, it ensures that the people of Wales are put first and Plaid Cymru reinforces this.

The Welsh Youth Parliament also offers an opportunity for young people to take part in politics and act as a voice of the future. Unlike elsewhere, linguistic politics and culture have a high prominence in Welsh politics.

You can keep up to date with Plaid Ifanc’s events by heading to the SU website or following them on Twitter: @PI_Caerdydd, or Facebook: @PlaidStudentsCDF.


For more information on all of Cardiff University’s political societies, head to the Students’ Union website.

Follow @gairrhyddpol for all of the latest updates from the world of politics.

Politics Morgan Perry

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