Brian Monteith wrote just before five o’clock today:
we may at last be seeing the beginning of a much needed realignment of Scottish politics.
But in one huge respect, Scottish politics is still aligned exactly the way it was before the elections.
From 2008-2012, Edinburgh Council had 15 women councillors out of 58. (Elizabeth Maginnis, elected to Forth Ward for Labour in 2007, died in 2008, and the seat was held for Labour by a man.) From 2012-2017, unless by-elections change this, there will be 15 women out of 58.
There are a number of factors here: The LibDems suffered a Cleggadedon-style wipeout and the two women incumbents who were standing for election and who lost their seats were both Lib Dems – Jenny Dawe (Meadows / Morningside), and Marjorie Thomas (Leith). Labour had set in place structures to allow for more equal selection processes. And finally, the SNP didn’t do as well as they hoped – they stood 26 candidates of whom only 3 were women. Two out of the three women won seats, and 16 out of 23 men.
Two-thirds of the women elected won in the first round, making quota from their first preference votes only.
Every party except the Scottish Greens has chosen to stand a majority of men. The Greens are standing 50/50, as is their party policy. One in three of Labour’s candidates are women, in a renewed effort for equality. For the other parties: the Lib Dems are standing 2 women out of 17 candidates (I think – they were surprisingly hard to look up); the Conservatives are standing 6 women out of 20 candidates; and the SNP are standing 3 women out of 26 candidates, proportionally the very worst party of the four. (If I’ve missed any candidates, do let me know – I’m going by name/photo/website where available. There’s also the Liberal Party in Scotland, who don’t appear to be taking the Scottish council elections very seriously and who tend to get eliminated in early rounds, and the new anti-cuts alliance, which is standing two women as candidates.)
The Labour Group in the council has 8 women out of 20 councillors, respectably close to 50%. The Scottish Green Group has 2 out of 6 – while standing 50/50, all of their gained seats went to men. The Conservative Group has 3 out of 11. The SNP Group has 2 out of 18. The LibDems have no women councillors.
Five wards have no women councillors, which is exactly the same number as in 2007 (and almost the same wards). Pentland Hills, Leith, and Southside / Newington; also the Corstorphine / Murrayfield & Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart wards where no women were standing. (2007-2012, Craigentinny/Duddingston didn’t have even one woman councillor and Leith ward did.)
The women of Edinburgh council (*Incumbents) are:
- Almond – *Lindsay Paterson (Conservative) – first
- Drum Brae / Gyle – Karen Keil (Labour) – first
- Forth – Vicki Redpath (Labour)
- Inverleith – *Lesley Hinds (Labour)
- Sighthill / Gorgie – Catherine Fullerton (SNP) – first
- Colinton / Fairmilehead – *Elaine Aitken (Conservative)
- Meadows / Morningside – *Melanie Main (Scottish Green)
- City Centre – *Joanna Mowat (Conservative) – first, & Karen Doran (Labour)
- Leith Walk – *Angela Blacklock (Labour), *Deirdre Brock (SNP), *Maggie Chapman (Scottish Green) – all first
- Craigentinny / Duddingston – Joan Griffiths (Labour) – first
- Liberton / Gilmerton – *Norma Austin Hart (Labour) – first
- Portobello / Craigmillar – *Maureen Child (Labour) – first
I’d be interested to see other analysis of the Scottish councils and their gender balance. More of the Male, Pale, and Stale?
From Counting Women In:
Women have a right to an equal say in politics. Decisions of national importance – about everything from whether to go to war to what to teach in our schools – are being made without women round the table: the different experiences and perspectives of one half of the country are not being heard.
The lack of women at the top table of politics sends a clear signal to other walks of life: it’s ok to cut women out from positions of power. We don’t think it is.
And with particular reference to the SNP’s track record – in the very last Scottish election before the referendum on independence, why did the SNP think it acceptable, all over Scotland, to have such a majority of their candidates men?