What we learned this week

Wales is at the forefront of democratic reform, launching a series of proposals this week for engaging younger people, getting more people to vote, and improving the voting system for local councils. Do it Wales, and then we can argue for it nationally.

For those waiting for Spring here in Britain, here’s a project that tracks migrating birds on their way north from Africa. The good news is that PJ the cuckoo has started his journey and is currently in Cameroon.

We need African countries to teach us, rich Europeans, how to live with predators” says ecologist Guillaume Chapron, in this fascinating article on how European countries are adapting to the return of wild wolves.

The government has been talking a good game on plastic recently, but Parliament itself got through 2 million single-use plastic items last year. This new campaign for a ‘Plastic Free Parliament‘ encourages them to lead from the front.

In my attempt to read a different news source every week, I’ve been reading The Scotsman this week. I have family and work projects in Scotland and visit regularly, and when I visit I quite enjoy reading the news from beyond the borders. I like its outsider twist on parliament in particular. I have not recaptured that feeling online, disappointingly. The Scotsman’s website cuts short its headlines, so that they say things like “Minister blasts ‘unacceptable’ …” and you have to click on it to find out what it’s about. It also has bizarre sections on the front page, with ‘car news’, ‘heritage’, and then separate sections for each major Scottish football team. Sorry The Scotsman, but this one’s not a keeper.

Next week I will be reading the Europe edition of China Daily.


  1. The Welsh Government are confused in that at the same time they are proposing reducing the voting age to 16 they are raising the age for intimate piercings to 18. Either 16 year olds are adults or they aren’t. If they can’t be trusted to chose to have a Prince Albert they can hardly be trusted to choose a government.

    1. That is an odd inconsistency, I’ll admit.

      I’m agnostic on votes at 16 myself, because in my experience political literacy has little to do with age. I know switched on 16 years olds who could vote with confidence, and 30 years olds who couldn’t pick the Prime Minister out of a line-up. I don’t know how we square that one.

      1. A compromise might be to permanently restrict 16 and 17 years olds to only voting in local elections. That is at we treat them as emerging adults gaining experience but not wholly ready for the most serious decisions.

        Trouble is I can’t see that satisfy the pro lobby and would look like a slippery slope to the antis.

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