Friday, 20 December 2013

praising Nicola Sturgeon (updated 2015)

Did you hear Nicola Sturgeon on Radio 4's Woman's Hour the other day?  She was brilliant.  If you didn't hear it, you can catch it here.

Nicola Sturgeon at the SNP conference.  Pic from BBC, here
Woman's Hour compiled a Power List of the 100 most powerful women in the UK in 2013.  Nicola was on the list (which is topped by The Queen) at number 20.

A lot of women on the power list have been interviewed on Woman's Hour over the year and almost invariably when they're asked how they felt about being on the list they say that although they're hugely flattered, they don't really feel powerful.  Really what they have is influence.  

I am so tired of powerful women refusing to acknowledge their power. I mean I do get it - it's not womanly to be powerful, but that's the problem right there! Refusing to acknowledge hard won power is boring, unnecessary and involves hiding lights under bushels.  I really wish they would stop it.  

These are the women who have managed to get ahead, What sort of message does it send out if the women who are powerful don't want to be seen that way? I want them to own it, and to acknowledge it as a perfectly acceptable thing for a woman to do...

Well, we had none of that nonsense from Nicola Sturgeon.  She was happy to be powerful, and she enjoys her work.  She would like to be First Minister, but wouldn't want Alex Salmond to leave the job.  She talked about the Labour party having positive discrimination to get women into politics, and how she liked this policy and was dissapointed that the SNP hadn't followed suit.  She hopes that we'll eventually get more than 50% women politicians, to reflect the 52% of women in the population.

Well Nicola, if you're reading this, I would love for Alex Salmond to leave his job and for you to become First Minister.

When I worked for the Scottish Government, I did Antisocial Behaviour Research.  Nicola was the Deputy Leader of the SNP and was basically the leader in Scotland at the time, while Labour were in charge and Alex Salmond was an MP in London.

Nicola Sturgeon kept me in a job back then because any bill that went through on Antisocial Behaviour would have an amendment pushed through by Nicola saying that the policy should be evaluated with proper research.  Thanks Nicola.

The end result was policy based evidence, rather than evidence based policy, but at least something was done to find out if it worked, rather than just charging ahead (whether ASB policies worked or not is another matter).

When the elections were coming up in 2007 I had a brief moment of hoping that the SNP would win and Nicola would be First Minister, and then I realised that if they won, Alex Salmond would return to Scotland to be First Minister.  Way to commit Alex - to let Nicola do all the groundwork and then come in once the battle is won.  

Nicola is supporting Scottish Independence, and she's consistently demonstrated her commitment to Scotland and the Scottish people.  I personally think she's fabulous, and really hope she does get to be First Minister one day.

*update 2015*

After all those women argued that they were influential, rather than powerful, BBC Woman's Hour have this year compiled a new list, of the most influential women. You'll find it here

Since I last wrote about Nicola Sturgeon, the Yes side lost the independence referendum, leading to Alex Salmond's resignation, and Nicola Sturgeon was a shoe in for the lead spot. She has led the SNP to incredible results in the last UK election, and is currently focused both at home on Scotland (where she is First Minister - yay), and in Europe, campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU. She is a very people-focused politician, and we have seen massive increases in women politicians in Scotland. Something which I suspect is down to her hard work.

Woman's Hour this year placed her at no. 1 on their list of influencers. A place she undoubtedly deserves.

Who's your favourite current politician?  

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