Of Mice and Men – leadership, women and independence

imageMen, men, men, men, manly men, men, men – theme tune for sitcom or an all too depressing summary of the SNP depute leadership contest and, indeed, the wider independence movement.

With the nominations now closed, I cannot be the only one disappointed that the choice is between four men. I switched off the contest as yet another aspect of Scottish political life is the dominion of men and I know that I am not the only one.

For such a forward thinking party, the optics of an all-male depute leadership contest is embarrassing especially when they do so well elsewhere – the Cabinet is gender-balanced and they succeeded in ensuring more women were elected as MSPs. The party has also been working hard to encourage women and other minority groups to stand as it is without a doubt that we are best represented when we have a diversity of candidates from all different types of backgrounds.

This is why it is so disappointing that we have an entirely male field of candidates.

 The SNP are not the only ones who have a problem with men dominating – look at their fellow travellers – the Greens. Only one woman out of six MSPs? I hope they look at where they are putting women forward because, if not for Alison Johnstone, their benches would look like the LibDems and no one wants to look like that.

“Talking of manels – do not even get me started on the worst offenders, the media and the pisspoor excuses they gave us last time round.”

And to the wider independence movement, do you want to win the next referendum? Yes? Well, you are going to have an incredibly hard time if you do not listen and then speak to women.

You will note that I started with listen, because that was something that was rarely done in the last campaign. Too often women were told to put up and shut up when they said, maybe just maybe, you do not want to invite a man with a history of misogyny to speak to voters. Too often we were told that there was no way to ensure that a panel was not a manel, too often the excuse was we tried.

Aye, you may have but clearly not hard enough. 

Talking of manels – do not even get me started on the worst offenders, the media and the pisspoor excuses they gave us last time round. They claimed it was the fault of political parties and organisations for not sending or they tried to get a woman on, but it was too short notice. My polite suggestion would be to empty chair the political parties and work on increasing your database of women experts, it really is that simple!

“The SNP are not the only ones who have a problem with men dominating – look at their fellow travellers – the Greens. Only one woman out of six MSPs?”

It is not all bad however, as one of the best things to emerge from the last independence was Women for Independence, an organisation for women, led by women. 

I absolutely adore the fact that they have the crowdsourced #WFImediawatch and that women are willing to sit through all types of political programming to note just how many women are invited on. Guess what they found out?

Go on, guess. Time and time again, there were more men than women and often, if not for the chair, there would be an entirely male discussion.

Another reason I love Women for Independence is that they are unafraid to challenge the unreconstructed sexists on both sides of the independence debate, which sadly only a small number of people actually do. Most only appear to care about sexism only when it can be a performance against those they disagree with.

“Too often women were told to put up and shut up when they said, maybe just maybe, you do not want to invite a man with a history of misogyny to speak to voters.”

Indeed, one of the most depressing things about the last referendum was that it shone a light on the underbelly of Scottish politics and the one thing that united the rockets on either side? A virulent hatred of women who dared had a different opinion to them.

It is important that we, both individually and collectively, question and challenge the dominance of men in all aspects of political and civic life in Scotland, from the leadership of political parties to the media. Without doing so, any independence we gain will be hollow.

Comments (93)

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  1. Bert Logan says:

    I was surprised there were no women putting themselves forward tbh.

    I don’t see it as an SNP thing at all. The issue is one where none of the more than capable women presented themselves. I find that odd given the strength of the leader herself.

  2. Gail Gyi says:

    Apart from a couple of high profile Asians, regularly placed front and centre the SNP is as bereft as all other parties in Scotland at representing Scotland’s Ethnic minorities and people of colour. So pardon me if I take umbridge with the following statement from the article above as it is clearly s piece of tripe. And I speak as a politically active and astute black woman – ” The party has also been working hard to encourage women and other minority groups to stand as it is without a doubt that we are best represented when we have a diversity of candidates from all different types of backgrounds.”

    1. Scoobs says:

      “Apart from a couple of high profile Asians, regularly placed front and centre”

      Just WOW, good job at insulting some of the most talented people I know in politics. Filing this alongside all the manbabys that will pile on.

  3. Winston says:

    I feel you’re being a too bit hard. We have a female First Minister and talented representation at Ministerial level.
    It’s not always about gender, but talent. But yes, I’d welcome more females to come forward.
    On the positive side it’ll be hard to select from the candidates. They’re differ and with much to offer.

  4. Wullie says:

    We have a wummin leader & a balanced cabinet so what’s the problem?

  5. Bryan Weir says:

    Poor article.

  6. Bryan Weir says:

    “Indeed, one of the most depressing things about the last referendum was that it shone a light on the underbelly of Scottish politics and the one thing that united the rockets on either side? A virulent hatred of women who dared had a different opinion to them.”

    I was trying to think of a clever word to describe what I think about this but I think “nonsense” just about covers it.

  7. Ron says:

    Regardless of their sex I believe Tommy Shepherd would make an excellent deputy leader.

  8. Dorothy Bruce says:

    So why didn’t the author ask some women in the SNP why they didn’t put themselves forward for the Depute leadership position? Their responses might have produced more interesting points than were raised in the article. Anyone in the SNP was free to stand for the position but no women did. It happens sometimes.

    “Indeed, one of the most depressing things about the last referendum was that it shone a light on the underbelly of Scottish politics and the one thing that united the rockets on either side? A virulent hatred of women who dared had a different opinion to them.”

    As for the above, I suggest the author has been living on a different planet, or reading too many articles in the Daily Mail. She certainly must have had eyes and ears closed during the indyref.

  9. C Rober says:

    The respected leaders of the three main parties in Scotland , all wummin , leader of the Greens Pat well… he makes a great middle ground.

    The leader of the main party in Westminster , wummin. The leader of Plaid Cymru , wummin. The leader of DUP Wummin. The future leader of America , a wummin – unless that eejit gets in. Leader of the Largest country in Europe , Germany – a wummin. Need I go on?

    Things have changed.

    But what are you suggesting , a D’Hondt for office related to internal or external plumbing? To make up the numbers via one decisive chromosome , when to have the best person for the job is probably the better question? Is this not the repeating of jobs for the boys , well because they are boys?

    BTW in most cases I do reckon a wummin is the best person for that job , but sadly is held back by nature more than the opposite sex , unless they are affluent enough already to afford a nanny or surrogate unfortunately…. But isnt that the kind of person we are trying to remove from Scotlands politics , the elite and wealthy , those that can afford to be in politics in such a way?

    Sturgeon , May , Merkel , Davidson , Dugdale unless I am wrong , but do correct me , dont have any children. So should one be asking why not , is that the cost of politics , or the cost of any career? Sexuality aside – its a valid question for a woman , climb the ladder , or raise children? And there lies a further question , sexuality , just because that person is a wummin does she therefore represent all woman because of it? OR simply use it for political voting capital?

    Westminster still reserve the power for embryo and surrogacy legislation by individuals , just a thought , but would this not be a good thing to pursue for being devolved given the numer of female politicians these days?

    Progressive multinationals are freezing their workers eggs to retain them , not just the absolute top tier , so perhaps considering that some of these companies have a GDP higher than Scotland itself , therefor is this where the female Scottish politician should be gearing up for today – for woman in the future?

    I think wummin bring to politics a diffferent and important trait , they dont suffer from male ID for the most part , but I have known a few that did , straight and gay. Twice the man of some men , with the stronger heart of a woman – can be a very powerful and effective thing.

    As for the biological reasoning that can be restrictive in a career , ie children , it makes them a little more conscientious of politics than their male counterparts. When the leadership race of the Tories was happening it was a valid question , whether having children makes a better leader , but somehow became an attack on a childless politician instead. Or was that the males that dictated that online furore and media blitz?

    WIth most women , politician as well , Housing becomes a thing for children to be safe in , not profit. Schools become safe places to learn , not meat for the machine. Health for woman , ie the HPV vac . cancers and so on , wll it shows where a combined female power works. This as men gear up Schools and Hospitals in PFI , housing for bank balances and profit , and the main male cancers lag behind in prevention and cure.

    If anything as a result – the important Jobs are not the Front line ones , but the legislative and committee ones , where shaping a Future Scotland is done and while fighting within the ranks the old boy networks that still exist politically like committees.

    But said committees are even more so biased , where moving a solitary wummin member to a chair role may sound good to wummin , but one has to ask whether thats to remove them from actual decision making and important participation – simply to be a nanny of a dozen or so members , where the majority are still male. But nanny is always right.

    1. Rachel says:

      Just a quick point: The Scottish Greens don’t have a leader, they have gender balanced co-convenors 😉

      1. Kathleen says:

        To be more precise still Rachel, you have sex-balanced co-conveners in the Scottish Green Party. The English & Welsh Green Party seem to be disappearing down a rabbit hole of ‘gender identity’ that will mean an end to sex-balanced representation.

      2. C Rober says:

        Rachel , so the only answer is a correction , but nothing said about the wummin leaders of nearly every Scottish political party , never mind the other Foreign leaders , and now Westminster for its second time having a woman in Charge…. Scotland remembers the last time that was the case , yet still elected 3 wummin leaders of its own anyway. So man bad , wummin good , regardless.

        But with the Co Convenor exception of the greens I do stand a “little” corrected… so thanks.

        Greer warns/warned about the successive new waves , where talent and ability now doesn’t matter , only the perverted right to ” a form of reverse sexism” being the new goal , not equality but legislated inequality , an ironic if not karmic pun on the original fight. I am paraphrasing here.

        Perhaps the time now is not to complain , but instead for you and the Author to ask the SNP wummin in Holyrood exactly why they never put themselves forward for the job , instead of blaming the men? Then come back again with the true reason why , before suggesting why.

        Are you and the rest somehow suggesting that they were prevented , or that they are pitiful wee wummin that know their place – so now need replacing as a result?

        Or did the whip tell all the wummin to go and get their husbands tea sorted and come back after the men had done doing the real work? NO.

        FFS the internet would have melted , not a peep within the media , but we can fall into the male dominated media excuse.

        The result being this one piece as far as I have noticed , without a qoute from a single one of the nearly 30 or so wummin politicians , so its only a witchunt(pun intended) on both genders within the SNP as a result….. and with that any male that disagrees with the authors all being mysogs. Now dont get me wrong , I am by far the least supportive of the SNP on here , but this reeks of snp bad.

        Somehow I think the gender police would have been down on the SNP like a ton of bricks , at least one wummin within them would have came out with any nefarious reasonings , then repeated again in the trial by media , they do after all look for any SNP bad (truth or lies) , and this would be the baddest.

        It does nothing for the fight , neither for Indy or equality as a piece.

        Or is the “openly hidden , yet unspoken in the media for fear of backlash ” political agenda NOW to increase further the NEW inequality currently seen in Scottish Politics , where 0.6 percent of the demographic are the leaders of two of the political parties in Holyrood ?

        But of course sexuality is not , just like gender , to be a prevention in employment including politics. But somehow it has enabled our lesbian sisters to climb to the top of both the Labour and Tory party in Scotland.

        Now thats a glass ceiling well and truly smashed , but then theres gender and sexuality , and we cant really talk about the latter , without falling into social media victimisation trap already conveniently baited by our sisters in dungarees , so must avoid the non gender non sexuality specific inequality elephant in the room.

        But then again its too easy to do the gender war , and lazy , this is for me one of the worst I have seen in a while. For me BC publishing it was perhaps questionable , insofar as there was no contact with a single SNP female politician asking them why no application for the second job. SO is a non piece and could do with a deletion or even a change in the quest editor.

        The white heterosexual protestant male wealthy politician and employer deserves a bashing for historical actions , alongside organised religion for subjugating wummin , and they are the only thing in the closet now … legislatively castrated.

        So is the fight now onto wummin that wont step up , thus wummin on wummin hate crime…. with the goal to parachuting in more of those in the 0.6 percent to replace the 49.something percent politically for not running for deputy leader? I am sure womankind would like to know , four of a kind well it beats a full house.

        1. Bryan Weir says:

          “sisters in dungarees”

          Love it! Maybe I should not have laughed at this but I confess that I did anyway. ;o)

          1. C Rober says:

            Bryan , I do like a Jimmy Carr joke now and then , added that as a graphical metaphor for any DM readers , in reality the dungaree and doc martin chapter are well in decline , apart from those readers minds.

            But overall there is little argument that a zenith moment is here in Scottish politics , at least leader wise in representation of one minority…. if they were disabled and asian , then there would be a statistical percentage lower than the odds of winning the euromillions and Uk lottery with the same numbers….in the same week.

            But I stick to my meandering somewhat hyperbolic point , that for the current wave of certain activists , now its the Right kind of woman for the job wanted … not the talent , now that the big bad man is swept aside .

            And there in lies their own future failure , to assume that all other wummin are stupid enough to fall for any “Balldrickettes” cunning plan , ones that have aided the smashing of glass ceilings , and not through attacking successful women in Scottish politics – just for not going for the deputy leader job…. while completely ignoring the women leaders already in power.

            “the knife in your back is always genderless , unlike the holder”.

  10. Kathleen says:

    The comments are depressing, as they always are whenever a pro-indy feminist talks about the SNP and the wider pro-indy movement’s failures when it comes to women. Why do some people find it so hard to actually listen and hear when women tell them that there’s a problem?

    Women are telling you that many women feel there is a problem about the inclusion and representation of women. Does that not give you cause for thought before you rush to comment?

    Gail’s point about ethnic minority women is also well made in that the pro-indy movement is failing to include and engage fully. But a bit unfair to therefore dismiss the whole article on that one point.

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      “Women are telling you that many women feel there is a problem about the inclusion and representation of women. Does that not give you cause for thought before you rush to comment? ”

      Actually, no, it doesn’t. The fact that a woman is saying this adds no more value at all. If it did that would be sexist would it not? ;o)

      The basic issue here is that there is no female candidate for the deputy leadership of the SNP. That has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with the fact that no woman went for the job.

      1. Kathleen says:

        ‘Sexism’ doesn’t mean differentiating on the basis of sex per se. That ignores the reality of patriarchy, power, history, etc. If a woman discriminates against a man on account of his sex, that’s an individual act of discrimination. When a man does it, it’s within a wider context.

        You may find the following quote from a feminist website useful. (Although I doubt it, as I’m not convinced that you’re actually interested.)

        “Short definition: Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.”

        1. Crubag says:

          No, in Scotland (or the rest of the UK for that matter, the Equality Act is UK legislation) we don’t recognise that definition. The law defines sexism as discrimination based on sex, regardless of what that sex is.



          (There’s probably something in the argument too about sex vs gender, one being a lot more fluid than the other, but that’s a different article).

        2. Bryan Weir says:

          There was no sexism. No one prevented any SNP women from standing in this election.

    2. Mandy says:

      I’m a woman and I don’t think having more women in politics necessarily makes politics better, especially when you think of Teresa May and Ruth Davidson.
      The caliber of person counts, not their gender. Snps candidates are talented people and no women came forward.

      Some feminists are so boring and weak, strong independent women don’t put pretend barriers in their own way, there’s nothing stopping women achieving what they want, look at the three main party leaders in Scotland.
      Women are just more likely not choose high stress roles, I can’t say that’s a bad thing. There’s more to life than power and status.

      Obsession with gender politics is just another way to separate working class people.

  11. Alexander says:

    What is all this men women rubbish? I do not care what is between their legs but what is between their ears. Their brain power is far more important than their sex. These sexist nutters need to get a grip and realise it is political performance that matters. Please put your sex obsessions where the sun don’t shine!
    We have an incredible Party Leader and First Minister in Nicola Sturgeon and she was chosen on her performance not her sex. I din’t want a bunch of incompetents selected on the base of there Sex.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Hi Alexander. I don’t want a bunch of incompetents selected on the basis of their sex either, so how can we change it?

      1. Coul Porter says:

        …..by eliminating (non gender-specific) incompetence.

    2. Scoobs says:

      Can you mansplain how we get gender neutral panels on the BBC without discussing sex please?

    3. Sharon says:

      But of course all those male politicians are there based solely on merit! Isn’t it telling that when we talk about gender equality in politics (and other spheres of life) the common refrain (mostly from men) is: but what about merit? The suspicion is, that we can’t have equal access and competent politicians. Oh the irony! They’ve been conveniently ignoring the fact that we don’t live in a meritocracy, and the only reason why many male politicians hold their posts is usually down to either; ‘old boy’ links; funny handshakes; the schools they went to etc etc. It seems some men don’t want to give up their power and privilege, and are trying to convince others that these pesky women demanding equal access are just not ‘worthy’ and competent -like them.

      1. c rober says:

        Sharon , agreed to last part , then sadly , just like all those other new posters with single female first names – you showed your true hand. Its not equal you are after , its more equal than a.nother if its a man.

        1. Sharon says:

          Your response makes no sense. How do you get to the conclusion that I want women to be ‘more than equal’? But men posting using only their surnames are obviously a strange lot.

          1. c rober says:

            Sharon , the point is , equality is lost when more than equality is the hidden goal , more so with pied piper politics.

            Heres equality for you , with no equalization.

            The majority of Doctors qualifying for a while now are female , so should they be cast aside to formulate a quasi equalisation agenda for men , thus perpetuating the old boy network? We can also throw teachers into that category , as well as carers and nursing.

            So they are either feeble minded wee wummin , and are the next waves enemy as a result , or are simply subservient to the mysogs ?

            But of course feel free to come forward with the old rhetoric , that men are controlling this demographic somehow , thus want women to do woman like historical jobs of the past , and definitely not the politics of the future?

            The sad thing is that gender equality cannot be totalitarian , women can and do certain things better than men and vice versa. I am not in any way being patronizing but will undoubtedly be accused of it , its simple nature , and if mem serves its often ironically referred to as mother natures hand …. and I have yet to hear a word from her barefooted naked husband from the kitchen.

  12. Gill says:

    ‘I din’t want a bunch of incompetents selected based on there (sic) sex’

    Nor do I Alexander, but sadly men have been for generations.

    How exactly do we put a stop to that?

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      Perhaps by standing against the men? AFAIK there was no reason why they couldn’t do so in this case.

  13. Ally says:

    Absolutely bang on. Really good read.

  14. Alf Baird says:

    Its not politicians that make most of the decisions for us plebs, its the unionist elite still running practically every public body and institution in Scotland – and yes they are predominantly male, and from privileged backgrounds, who went to the same ‘elite’ universities: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elitist-scotland

    So it would not matter if every single MSP in Holyrood was SNP (or a woman), the unionist (mainly male) elite would still be running Scotland. An even scarier thought is that even if independence were achieved, these ‘people’ would still be in charge of institutional Scotland.

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      The so-called battle of the sexes is an elitist construct which pits person (male) against person (female). Let’s be done with this farce and stand united as decent human beings against the indecent elite. And let’s not forget that the elite is made up of both indecent men and indecent women.

      1. C Rober says:

        and now wummin against wummin , if they somehow dont run for deputy.

  15. Neil Anderson says:

    This says it all I think:


    Not sure why Ivor’s name is written larger and first; probably just because he was a bit better known.

    Here’s some information on Linda Hirst. I imagine she is a very good human being. Like Ivor was.


  16. Neil Anderson says:

    And, just for the record, I agree with the entire article. The reason why more women didn’t apply themselves to the election of deputy leader is self-evident: there is a huge gender bias still alive and kicking in our society and world, even in those parts which we imagine to be most noble.

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      That is not a reason and it is not self evident at all. All the mechanics were in place to allow any female to stand for the position. That they chose not to was not a result of any gender bias. After all, all they had to do was put their had up.

      1. Bryan Weir says:

        Sorry, “put their hand up”.

  17. Black Rab says:

    Hey, maybe men are more aggressive as a percentage and get themselves heard and assertion is admired in our society. Hey ho, what does anyone really know.
    How many people from Cranhill, male or female are in positions of any kind of empowerment?

    1. Neil Anderson says:

      Great point.

    2. C Rober says:

      Ones mans assertive is another ones aggressive?

      Your right though , hard to imagine a leader coming from a humble background of Ex council homing , aaaah wait a minute – whit aboot that Sturgeon bloke the MALE English press and commentors are always talking aboot?

      Then again have you actually did some wiki on all of our parachute politicians links to their wards , I did , confirmed what you said.

  18. Broadbield says:

    There is undoubtedly a huge legacy of female oppression by men. Women were regarded as chattels, property. We are living with the consequences of this attitude in so many ways. My wife was routinely passed over for promotion in her career by (mostly) male appointments panels, but even when women were on the panel they doubted if a woman could do the job. Eventually, after about the 10th rejection she finally got the promotion she deserved and proved she could do the job – in fact, did it better than many of the “buggins-turn” men. In every profession and walk of life, especially where the old-boys preservation society of private education is key, men rise seamlessly to the top, like turds in a cesspool.

    We need to change attitudes and the conditions which allow men to dominate if things are going to change. But this deputy leadership issue is the wrong battle. I don’t see any evidence of sexism.

  19. A says:

    Major reason I became an SNP activist, promoter and voter was meeting Winnie EwIng in a caravan parked outside Nairn Academy in the 1970s.

    Winnie provided enough common sense mixed with pride for a life time.

  20. Bryan Weir says:

    These Weemin! They’re even taking over the piping!

    Edinburgh Tattoo makes history with first female lone piper

    Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/edinburgh-tattoo-makes-history-with-first-female-lone-piper-1-4203643

    1. C Rober says:

      Note to self , Must not sink to gutter humour and feed the machine with obvious sexist joke….

  21. Kathleen says:

    Wow! ‘Margaret Thatcher was a woman’ ‘dungarees’ ‘dividing the working class’ ‘weak feminists’ ‘look here’s a woman piper’ ‘your definition of sexism is wrong because I trust the UK Government’s legislation beyond any nuanced defintion’. . . good to see the usual misogynistic bullshit dripping out of so many of the replies here.

    Yes supporters (assumedly) all coming up with the reasons why they don’t feel any need to listen to women, helping to ensure that, in any second independence referendum, we’ll lose again.

    Nice work morons!!!

    The SNP Deputy Leadership contest is interesting. Within the SNP there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that given our leader is a woman, with a Glasgow constituency, sitting in the Scottish Parliament, for balance we needed a depute leader who was a man, with a different geographical constituency, from a different elected institution. It seems we, unthinkingly, felt that gender balance was key and several very viable women candidates chose not to enter the race. Yet why not have a woman leader and a woman depute leader? No reason not to, yet somehow within ourselves we all sort of assumed it would be a man.

    1. c rober says:

      Sorry but your contradicting yersel.

      Gender equalization , is moving goalposts , the Dhondt of internal politics , in gender equalising terms a reward for failure due to gender and not instead reward for achievement gender regardless … you can spin it any way you want , then play yer sexist kerd when foun wantin – while looking for some “right on sister support” , and thats insulting , and appears lacking also as modern wummin well they are naw stupid.

      I havent read a single thing about yessers saying to ignore wummin.

      If anything they , actual wummin, seemed to be more active than males in certain very important areas that mattered more to them towards indy , especially maternally like education and health … They are more open to discussion , which obviously you are not , and where instead you are so keen to see the result yer specifically efter. Specifically Man shaming of the whicker variety , kick the dog politics and wait on it biting , to say I told you so.

      “unspoken agreement”?

      Who is insulting women kind now?

      You have yet to ask a single female SNP msp why they didnt stand…. its therefore past personal opinion , and now an attempt to smear , while hiding behind the sexist and mysogeny kerd for SNP bad – and then looking for sexist victimization support from the ALL wummin , well for being a wummin.

      1. Kathleen says:

        “Gender equalization, is moving goalposts, . . etc” – I’m sorry but I have absolutely no idea what that paragraph means or what you’re trying to say. The whole paragraph is cobblers that literally makes no sense. But your misogyny still manages to drip through . .

        Funnily enough, nobody has written to Yessers suggesting they ignore the voices of women. But women here are telling you that our voices were and are being ignored by Yessers. Something that you apparently (and ironically) aren’t willing to listen to.

        “Man shaming” . . . what even is that? Women (whatever odd way you’re spelling it) ‘seemed more active’ in key areas? Nice anecdote, but the facts of how people actually voted in the referendum rather trump it.

        As to my being yet to ask a single woman MSP why they didn’t stand . . well, you don’t know me or my networks, so that’s a big supposition on your part. As it happens I had conversations with several women SNP MPs and MSPs regarding the deputy leadership contest. Did you? Did you try to persuade women to stand because you recognised the damaging and deep impact of patriarchy in our political system? Or did you just chunter a load of shite about women being very active and feminists being ‘man shaming’ like you have here?

        1. Kathleen says:

          And just to be absolutely clear on the facts, the opinion polls suggest that the actual voting in the independence referendum was that over 50% of men voted Yes, but less than 45% of women did.

          In other words, if women had voted Yes to the same extent as men, we’d have won our independence.

          So maybe when independence-supporting women are trying to tell you what the problem is, as in this blog, you should actually listen instead of coming out with sexist claptrap that only serves to put off even more women from supporting independence.

          Your sexism will lose us our independence.

          1. Broadbield says:

            Your attitude is a bit like those who like to call out those who disagree or put up a contrary argument and close down the discussion by slandering the other with cries of “racist”, “anti-semite”, “your misogyny still manages to drip through” or whatever. It doesn’t get us anywhere.

          2. Kathleen says:

            What is the ‘contrary argument’ here?

            That women are not discriminated against in public life? That there are not barriers to women in public life?

            That women are more likely to vote Yes than men?

            The ‘contrary argument’ is such obvious bullshit, that I feel you should be able to forgive me for being a little snide about those putting it forward.

          3. Kathleen says:

            But anyway, thanks for the feedback on my ‘attitude’. Sorry if I was getting above myself or something . .

    2. Bryan Weir says:

      Straw wumman?

      1. c rober says:

        Bryan Weir

        Straw wumman?

        Clutching at straws mair like.

        Think its time to put up or shut up for K , noo we hear its “cos I was told” , I hink its naw lang noo until ” ma gender unspecified parent is bigger thin yours”.

        If shes genuine then exposing would be done in the snp bad media within minutes.

  22. Alf Baird says:

    For those in any doubt that the unionist elite still run most of Scotland’s public bodies and key institutions, including even the Holyrood ‘Corporate Body’ who appear blatantly anti-independence with this ongoing eviction action: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14685653.Indycamp_protesters_launch_appeal_against_eviction_order/

    It matters little which man, woman (or alien from outer space even) leads or deputy leads the SNP, the unionist elite remain in charge, and the SNP government for a decade now has refused to change or challenge that. The fact the SNP leadership and MSPs do not support the people concerned in this particular case speaks volumes of their actual commitment to independence.

    1. c rober says:

      Its not something I like to see , ie the dismantling of the peace camp for indy/

      Many of those SNP anti trident politicians are doubly embarrassed noo , once for what looks like a doss out in front of the state parly for those keen to be taken seriously as politicans and what comes with it , and because not so long ago some of the auld guard well they were on , and in , a similar peace camp about Trident on the clyde.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Aye, between the persecuted peace camp for indy folks outside Holyrood, and the well-paid SNP MSP career politician suits inside, it is easy to tell who is the more passionate about independence.

        1. c rober says:

          The irony of the SNP always has me banging ma heed on the wall pre bedtime , a party with one original goal , where if they fail in that goal today they STILL grow bigger , ie are rewarded , and if they succeed well its jotters time.

          I do get it though , hardly a great thing to have all these world leaders , dignitaries and so on appear in their ambassador vehicles , motorcades , and then see a doss camp , sorry peace camp. Instead of dejecting those that support your political goal , they should be highlighting it to said visitors , but alas its time for sweeping under the carpet – just like some earlier members of the party themselves in self exile.

          Then again its kinda like like D’Hondt , a reward for the failure to be elected by your electorate , then rubbing their noses in it by being returned on the list system , forever creating a downward trend overall for SLAB … yet with no solution for engaging the electorate once more – without hierachy change. Possibly this is one of the reasons why Corbyn has came to the fore , being somewhat anti Nulabour , and of course the party south of Carlisle repeats the same as the party branch office , no change the voters and members dont matter , only keeping our jobs. Whats that saying again about the definition of madness?

          Hardly an incentive to work harder and achieve that goal is your eventual unemployment , so lets just go for NuSnp and rebrand as the only socialist option in Scotland , while continuing the status qou of historical Slab and Nulabour blaming – as well as Westminster keeping our hands tied….

          But yet has Scottish Labour decided to out nationalist the nationalist , just as the SNP have out socialist Slab? No , a far cry from Donald , one conveniently swept under the carpet about the long term belief that Scotlands Future is autonomy , but whether he meant federal or indy one would need a ouija board to get the TRUE answer , rather than from his living supposed “friends” , that have failed to hear the fat lady sing in Scottish politics.

          Suddenly we see why Irvine West result has happened , and where you have a reward for failure in list votes , you also have punishment for FPTP with tactical preference voting for prevention of SNP at any cost from election , from Tory voter to Slab. And this is how the rise of the Tories is happening , even without election , towards the unionist goal , through preferential list voting.

          For me those manky tents have to remain , to remind those on the inside their clock is ticking , that they are getting lazy and arrogant , filling with closeted Tories , and before becoming McSLAB far removed from the electorate. We cannot expect Tory and Slab to keep them in check for us , so manky canvas tents will have to do.

  23. Sharon says:

    If there’s any doubt about what women are up against, even within a movement that believes it is progressive, they just have to take a look at many of these comments. The dismissing of women’s concerns is shameful. It is the efforts of women like Kathleen who will increase support for Indy amongst women, not those commenting on here who refuse to see the issue because ‘Sturgeon’.

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      OK let’s get serious. I don’t think anyone was “dismissing women’s concerns”. I think most of us were dismissing the concerns expressed in this article, which in my opinion has no foundation.

      It attempts to link the fact that no women APPLIED to become a candidate for the deputy leadership as a sign that women are still being treated as second class citizens in the SNP. That is plainly just nonsense. For many years women have been prominent in the SNP but never more prominent than they are now.

      What could be seen as shameful – well perhaps not shameful but tiresome – are the screams of “MISOGYNY” whenever one expresses an alternative opinion to what was a flawed article.

      1. Kathleen says:

        Two days after this article was published and after many comments, now Bryan you say ‘let’s get serious’.

        Up until now, it had all just been a great joke to you?

        Yet you’re definitely not a misogynist. You just don’t take women seriously.


        1. Bryan Weir says:

          Actually the article is a joke.

      2. sharon says:

        Well Brian has declared ‘let’s get serious’ because up until Brian demanded that we do, the author and those supporting the article clearly were having a laugh. Move along now nothing to see here. Scottish politics and the representation of women has all been sorted. Oh and Brian if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck then. …

        1. Bryan Weir says:

          It’s “BrYan” Sharn.

        2. Bryan Weir says:

          … and any “demands” I made are a figment of your imagination.

          1. sharon says:

            Oh dear god BrYan with a Y you just keep getting worse. You have not undetstood a thing, but you keep on digging that hole with your condescending clap trap.

  24. Broadbield says:

    This is all rather sad. We have a couple of women determined to conflate, to call a misogynist anyone who doesn’t see that the fact no women put themselves forward for Deputy is discrimination, despite them offering no evidence, and that therefore all the men on here are laughing at them. Most of the comments on here, imho, have said they don’t see this as a discrimination problem, (because we don’t see any evidence) and so it isn’t a battle to fight. In other words, these particular women are saying you either agree with us or you are against us (women).

    I don’t think this attitude does women’s concerns, which, as I said much earlier, are real and present, any good whatsoever.

    It’s like some of the more virulent yessrs who namecall the No’s thinking that’s going to get them onside.

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      I agree. I did not see myself as disagreeing with [women] in this debate. I was disagreeing with the points made in the article and what I saw as the invalid arguments from some of [people] commenting that were being used to promote it.

      But then acknowledging that fact would mean that misogyny card would have to be left in the pack. We can’t have that now, can we?

    2. Kathleen says:

      Oh dear sweet baby Jesus save me from this stupidity . . the article is LITERALLY NOT ABOUT the SNP Deputy Leadership contest. That is just one example used in the article.

      1. Bryan Weir says:

        It wasn’t? By my interpretation the leadership contest was what the argument in the article was based upon. Clearly I was not alone in that. And what on earth has “dear sweet baby Jesus” got to do with it?

        1. Kathleen says:

          If you only read the first paragraph of the article, you might assume that this was what it was about.

          But surely anyone who had only read the first paragraph would not then be so entitled and arrogant as to enter into a debate about it . . .

          1. Bryan Weir says:

            Loving the “arrogant”.

          2. Bryan Weir says:

            First five paragraphs but who’s counting.

  25. Bryan Weir says:

    Since this has been dragged down to a men hating argument I was just thinking that I did not know the opposite of misogyny so I looked it up. The result was interesting and perhaps quite telling?

    “I had to think there about what word was used as the opposite found this to be quite interesting.

    “A misogynist is a person who hates women. A person who hates men can be described as a misandrist, and the corresponding noun is misandry. But however prevalent the attitudes described by these words may be, the words themselves aren’t common. There are currently only 29 examples of misandrist in the Oxford English Corpus, while misogynist appears more than 1,500 times; 68 uses of misandry are overshadowed by over 2,000 examples of misogyny.”

    1. Bryan Weir says:

      Ignore third line above. Pasted in my mitsake.

      1. Kathleen says:

        Misandry is really the problem we’re facing in Scottish politics, sure. Misandry is really the reason we’re not going to win the next independence referendum.

        Bryan, have you ever discussed feminism before with feminists? It’s starting to feel like you’re maybe quite new to the idea of mature discussion on these issues. Have the schools not gone back yet where you live and you’re finding yourself with too much time on your hands?

        1. Bryan Weir says:

          Mature discussion indeed.

  26. Broadbield says:

    The problem with this article and some of the replies from a couple of women is that it’s all cliches and slogans. Not a shred of evidence. That’s not to say there isn’t an issue that needs to be tackled, but the best articles on Bella and elsewhere (see Ponsonby’s evisceration of the BBC for example) quote evidence, not hearsay and rhetoric.

    Anyway, I hear my wife calling that lunch is ready 🙂

    1. sharon says:

      No the problem is that there are sheds loads of evidence that you and others are deliberately ignoring. Do you really believe that women are equally represented in all sections in Scottish society? If your answer is yes you are either lying or being willfully ignorant. Is the SNP as one political party trying to address the issue, yes they are. Has it resolved systemic discrimination -no. Should we (esp men who stick their fingers in their ears)who are meant to be part of a progressive movement listen more to what women are telling you -absolutelyd

      1. Broadbield says:

        Sharon, you obviously haven’t read my comment of 1 day ago, so please don’t ascribe to me beliefs and opinions which I clearly don’t hold.

        If there are shed loads of evidence (which I agree there is) it would have improved the article considerably if some of it had been quoted.

        1. Sharon says:

          You are doing a fine job of hiding your feminist credentials. I especially like when you share how an article (opinion piece) on how bad we are at equality and how men dominate our policies and public life could be improved upon. There’s nothing ironic about that. At. All.

          1. Sharon says:

            That’s politics not policies (although that too).

          2. Broadbield says:

            Sorry, but you clearly haven’t read “There is undoubtedly a huge legacy of female oppression by men.” above, or you are being deliberately obscurantist, or insulting. I’m not going to take any lessons from you on feminism. I was one of those men who quietly retired into the background, staying at home, so my wife could pursue her career at which she was much better than I would have been and I supported her through numerous failed interviews etc etc. No doubt your insults from ignorance make you feel much better and superior.

    2. Bryan Weir says:

      I agree Broadbield.

      Four or five women have commented on this article. Only two of them seem to fully agree with and be majorly supportive of the sentiments it attempts (and I think fails) to express.

      Both of them seem to see no problem in the use of low sarcasm and insults in trying to make their points. I think some of the guys who have commented on this article are to be commended for remaining above that level.

      1. Sharon says:

        My bad. You are obviously so much better at feminism than I am. A few of us have tried, and failed, to have you answer the central question that this article raises, is there an issue with equal representation here? You clearly think not (despite the evidence). You also believe this article is only about the SNP Deputy Leadership, rather than see it for what it is, one illustration of the issues women face re male dominance. But you two, rather than listen, or try to understand better the issues raised by Indy, SNP supporting women throw insults about, and tell us there is no issue. Go figure it out why that is your problem, but becomes ours because men like you, would rather talk over rather than listen to women. And funny (not really) that when we have discussions about the position of women in public life, it quickly becomes an issue about the men and their hurt feelings, and accusations of men hating misandry rubbish.Sick and tired of it.

        1. Kathleen says:

          Bryan, that’s pathetic. You don’t get to claim your gold star for feminism because of your personal circumstances. Next you’ll be telling us that you can’t be racist because you’ve got a black pal.

          If you took sex equality seriously (never mind feminism) you would have spared us your silly post about the woman piper. The tone of mockery really established your credentials there.

          Sharon. Go girl. You’ve summed it all up.

          1. Bryan Weir says:

            What’s pathetic? What did I mention about my personal circumstances?

  27. Thethe says:

    Sharon and Kathleen are the same person.

    1. Kathleen says:

      No we aren’t. I don’t know who Sharon is, but she seems great. I am Kathleen former SNP candidate and wfi activist.

      1. sharon says:

        I’m flattered by that comment actually- that someone could think we are the same person. I only know of Kathleen through her activism and comments on social media. She is someone who admire- but have never met her.

  28. Thethe says:

    As I said, same person.

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