Tag Archives: institutional misogyny


In the 2012 council elections, in quite a few wards the SNP decided to improve their number of seats on the council by breaking the musical chairs rule: instead of having just one party representative per ward, they had two. They made a number of bad strategic decisions (not least, presenting themselves as the male pale stale party in the last election before they have to convince women voters in particular that independence is worth voting for) but this one was kind of obvious.

(The musical chairs rule, for those not familiar with it: in Scotland, there may be three or four seats per ward, and there are usually candidates from five major parties standing: Labour, Conservative, LibDem, SNP, and Green. In a ward with four seats, as people go down the list of candidates ranking the parties in order of favour, this can effectively be a game of musical chairs: when the votes are counted, four out of five of the main parties will have a seat.)

The SNP also made the mistake of assuming that voters would remember their individual councillor and vote for him specifically (in the SNP, it’s usually a him). In my ward, the SNP council election leaflets suggested voters put “1” next to the second candidate, new man Adam McVey. (They did suggest people put “2” next to the previous councilor, but people don’t rank the same party “1” and “2” on their ballots…) Consequently, Adam McVey got in, and the previous SNP councillor lost his seat. The same pattern seems to have repeated itself in Heldon & Laich ward in Moray, with variations typical of locality – the previous councillors had been three men, a Conservative, an Independent, and SNP. Carolle Roberts, who had been involved in the campaign to keep the local RAF base open, was chosen to run as the SNP’s “other candidate”. And won.
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Filed under Elections, In The Media, Scottish Politics, Women

Talking to prolifers

Edinburgh abortion rights outside Merchant's Hall - SavitaSavita Halappanavar went to Galway University Hospital on 21st October with severe back pain, to be told she was miscarrying. She was 17 weeks pregnant. For three days of agony she and her husband requested an abortion – the foetus was still alive but had no chance of survival – but the medical staff refused: there was still a foetal heartbeat. He said they were told that this was the law and that “this is a Catholic country”. After three days the foetus was dead and the prolife medical team removed it, but too late to save Savita Halappanavar’s life: she died of septicaemia on 28th October.

Edinburgh Abortion Rights protest - outside Merchants Hall

The protest last night outside Merchant’s Hall in Hanover Street had been planned well before Savita Halappanavar died: it was in response to the first meeting of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students.

This is an organisation that intends, in its own words, to “invest in the future”:

Students are the nation’s future leaders and professionals. The next generation of doctors, lawyers, parents, teachers, nurses, politicians, engineers and artists will go on to build a pro-life society with a profound and lasting respect for human life.

By “respect for human life” they mean the ethos that let Savita Halappanavar die in agony.
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Filed under Equality, Human Rights, Justice, Racism, Women