I don’t mind causing mischief, but an otherwise unassuming post on last week’s Plaid Cymru-led debate on the new national curriculum caused a rare bit of heat and light on social media (and even rarer mass reach for Senedd Home).
I thought people would’ve figured this out for themselves, but it clearly needs an explanation as a lot of people got the wrong end of the stick.
Two questions form the basis of setting the plenary vote graphic in every single case.
Firstly, who tabled the motion and led the debate?
It was a non-binding Plaid Cymru debate and that decides how the vote will be counted at the end.
Secondly, did whoever tabled the motion get what they wanted?
Plaid Cymru’s motion called for the mandatory (stress mandatory) teaching of Welsh history and Welsh BAME history in the new national curriculum, as well as supporting Welsh language immersion.
The amendments tabled by the Welsh Government softened this to supporting an ongoing Estyn review of history (including BAME history) in the curriculum and supporting measures to ensure students can speak Welsh and English.
As Plaid Cymru didn’t agree to or abstain on that amended version, the question goes back to whether they got what they wanted?
They didn’t, so that’s what went on the vote graphic. Simple, 100% accurate, not misleading at all. The Welsh Government did reject the mandatory teaching of Welsh and Welsh BAME history (as reflected in the title at the top of the graphic, which everyone seems to have missed).
However, the Welsh Government amendments left the question open-ended and didn’t reject the teaching of Welsh or Welsh BAME history outright.
Many people may rightly disagree with that approach; some might even agree with that approach given the open-ended nature of the curriculum itself. I could’ve entitled the piece, “Labour rejects mandatory teaching of black history in Wales” and it would’ve been accurate, but the amendments and the context of the debate were properly considered and so it was the more fitting, collegial and less exciting: “Minister seeks to address concerns ahead of introduction of curriculum law”.
What was misleading was the use of the graphic without context – giving the impression that the Senedd rejected teaching Welsh or Welsh BAME history at all or that I had deliberately misrepresented the vote, which is completely false. The context was readily provided in the article itself and the amendments were referenced – but in the end it was Plaid’s debate and the opposition regularly uses their time to present debates on wedge issues, as they’re entitled to do.
Now, I could produce a graphic for every single amendment and do that for every single debate, but that would take me forever. It’s enough work as it is, so there has to be a line drawn somewhere – one vote, one graphic.
I could just record the vote of the final/amended version of every single debate instead – but government amendments are irrelevant to opposition debates unless the opposition actually agrees with them (or abstains).
People are free to interpret the content on Senedd Home in any way they want and being used in political chicanery is just a job hazard, but if you’re going to use any of my work to make a political point, at least share the fucking article.