My day was not off to a good start. I had to take 3 separate trains to travel the short distance between Bristol and the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay, every single one of which was delayed due to the weather. When I reached the building, however, I was encouraged to see a swarm of young debaters chatting with one another and making last minute preparations to refine their speeches and research for the day ahead.
Sion Mullane officially opened the day’s event, aided by the very capable Joe Marshall and Kyle Robertson as his VPs. What was particularly pleasing to see was how much every single team got involved in the very first debate of the day, all contributing to the topic ‘A Lost Generation’ (a debate on University and rising tuition fees). With a topic so relevant to those taking part, many of the delegates provided insightful and impassioned points to argue their case. The next debate, ‘Violent extremism, winning hearts and minds’, really sparked off some controversial, yet relevant and eloquent, points from all around the room.
The standard of debate stayed very high throughout the day, with all committees taking part, and some excellent and intelligent points being made from almost every seat in the room. This regional round was very much based on topics of controversy, with topics from women’s rights in MENA (Middle-Eastern and North African Countries), to embryonic stem cell research and internet piracy, and the way that the delegates dealt with these issues was commendable.
As well as debating, the delegates were given a presentation from a representative for the Welsh Assembly on participation in the political process, and were given the chance to ask four party Members of the Welsh Assembly questions about their parties and the political process as a whole. Both of these events were excellent, and very much in the spirit of political education that EYP holds as a fundamental principle.
The day, all in all, came off without a hitch, thanks to the effort of organiser, Chris Thomson (from the Welsh Centre for International Affairs). The jury was left the very difficult task of selecting who was to be selected to attend the National rounds, and Erin Doherty, Luke Thomas, Adam Stanford and myself came to the conclusion that Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf and Cardiff Sixth form College were the right choice to represent their region, due to the teamwork and attitude they adopted in the spirit of EYP.
Elliot Hayes (EYPUK)