Last weekend, I camped for the first time ever. Being so close to nature, sleeping in the fresh air, no ceaseless onslaught of email notifications, just me and the earth under my feet…it really taught me how much I like hotels.

I hated it. I truly hated every second of sleeping on the ground in a tent akin to an oven roasting me like a chicken as I tried to sleep. I was too long for the godforsaken polyester greenhouse, so had to sleep scrunched which not only gave me cramp, but also meant my knee was permanently poking my campmate in the bum – something she irritably vocalised every few hours.

It is just as well we are friends of fifteen years and close enough to have a debate as to what would be preferable: me kneeing her in the behind, or me kneeing her in the crotch. Apparently, the behind was less painful – but we both unanimously agreed that neither option was exactly ideal.


The root of my hatred for camping stems much deeper than the tent – the people around us played a considerable role.

Every night, on the hour every hour a man from a neighbouring tent would stick his head out and yell “does anybody have any Ket?”, much like a narcotized cuckoo clock. Whilst I cannot condone his life choices, I could relate to the desire to be fully tranquilized until it was time to go home.

The Ket loving cuckoo was in fact the most amiable of all the people surrounding us. One couple had a domestic which resulted in an ‘accidental’ headbutt (let’s gloss over how problematic this is, please), one person drank Stella with breakfast and a mystery person continuously took a dump in front of the portaloo instead of inside it.

By 4am on our final day, after a PTSD-inducing trip to the portaloos, I burst back into the tent and told my campmate – who, by all accounts, had been enjoying a ten minute rest from having my knee lodged up her behind – that I don’t think certain people should actually be allowed to vote.

I think my words were something along the lines of “if you actively choose to take a dump in front of a portaloo, then how could you possibly be trusted to choose a Prime Minister?”.

I’d say I didn’t really mean it, but in that moment I completely did. Having witnessed a side to humanity I did not know existed, I was fully signed up to disenfranchising anybody who chose camping as a pass time.

Four therapeutic days later, with multiple baths, face masks and scalp scrubs to cleanse away the camping, I’ve calmed down somewhat. As has my politics.

But as the camping fades to a (traumatic) memory, there’s now a lingering guilt surrounding my attitude towards my fellow campers. I had become everything I disagreed with – a snob who claims to be all for democracy, until it means that people I judge on a fundamental level get those same privileges.

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Some key votes in this country’s recent history have seen an embarrassing fall out post-election day, when those whose voices usually go unheard all of a sudden shoot an arrow through the heart of the political class, skewering the British norm of the middle and upper classes deciding the country’s fate.

The middle-class meltdown when a vote doesn’t go their way (I’m trying really, really hard not to directly reference Brexit…but, yeah, Brexit) is an ugly trait which needs to be addressed here in Wales if our political landscape is to reach its full potential.

The biggest question mark over the future of Welsh politics is obviously independence. I’m a voter who (when not in a state of portaloo PTSD) tries my best to think of wider society when at the ballot box, as opposed to just my own pocket or circumstance.

Thus, when considering what an independent Wales will look like, it’s fundamental to me that we provide better opportunities for political engagement from those who do not normally step into that decision-making space.

Simply having the ability to vote every few years is not enough, as certain pockets of society tend not to engage even when the time comes. There are a myriad of reasons for this – lack of education, lack of information, lack of confidence, bureaucracy and so on – all of which need to be stamped out as our country steps into the next phase of its political future.

The National Wales: Photo: Huw Evans Picture AgencyPhoto: Huw Evans Picture Agency

Whether it’s in ten years or in twenty years, Wales becoming independent needs to mean a Wales that works for everybody. A Wales where it isn’t just a group of privileged people taking the reins (à la Westminster).

If politically motivating normally disenfranchised groups in Wales takes us down a road unintended, that has to be something we embrace as a nation, if we are to be a nation that serves all of its citizens.

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