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So if Scottish councils are getting less male and stale, how are they doing on the pale? Not very well at all is the answer. The country's town and city chambers are almost entirely white. So even indespite decades of migration and the increasing prominence of "new Scots", the of non-white councillors in Scotland elected on May 3 would make up just one rugby team, with two subs.
Or fill a minibus. Across Scotland's 32 councils, there are now just 17 non-white councillors taking places among the 1, seats available, or 1.
None are black, of African or African-Caribbean descent. And few occupy seats outside west central Scotland. But that population figure is a crude estimate, quite likely to understate Scotland's true ethnic diversity, because no detailed figures are kept. Holyrood's figures are equally low : with just two Asian MSPs, its figure stands at just 1. There are similar crises of representation in England: in Birmingham, black church leaders and community groups are marching on City Hall next week to protest at the absence of black councillors in senior leadership roles in a city with a very large black population.
If it wasn't for the Scottish Labour party's renewed focus on positive action, which has been accelerated by their fight against the Scottish National party for control in Glasgow, the overall s would be far lower.
In Glasgow, which is the country's most ethnically diverse city, there are now eight Asian councillors. Strip Glasgow out and the remaining nine black and minority ethnic BME councillors in Scotland are spread across six councils. Three Asian councillors are in North Lanarkshire, so the five remaining councils have just one non-white councillor apiece, with perhaps Scotland's first Chinese heritage woman councillor in Dumfries, the SNP's Yen Hongmei Jin.
Simon Woolley, the director of Operation Black Votethe leading ethnic minority campaign group, which is about to start new training with some Scottish parties, said the new figures were better than years. He said:. It isn't fantastic, but it's not shocking. It's still poor.
It demonstrates a disregard for diversity, particularly where the s are low. He said there was a ificant level of disinterest in local parties across the UK; in many parts of England, few bothered to look at how accurately council groups reflected local electorates. Real success would come when BME councillors were elected in areas with small ethnic minority populations, or none at all, and not just in cities like Glasgow where Asian Scots are a large, visible presence. It has to translate to more than just the soft underbelly of politics. It's got to resonate for leadership roles and also out in the provinces, which are largely getting ignored.
It won't be until next year that census figures on Scotland's ethnic mix are published — there has been a delay in the release of all Scottish census — and accurate alternative figures on ethnicity do not appear to exist.
Don't be fooled by its job description, but the General Register Office for Scotland apparently doesn't keep any; the best estimates come from the labour market reports compiled by the UK Office of National Statistics ONS with extra Scottish government funding. The Annual Population Survey by the Scottish government and the ONS estimated Scotland's total population stood at 5,, of whom about 82, were "Asian or Asian British", 17, "Black or Black British", 16, were Chinese and 23, mixed race, with a further 30, "other".
There are ificant caveats about this data: the figures are extrapolated from a sample of 21, households and on ethnic minorities vary dramatically from year to year, so are quite likely to be inaccurate. This is a key question for Scottish political leaders: how well do their parties reflect and represent Scotland's diverse, multi-ethnic population, across all areas? There are three trends in the parties' attitudes to improving ethnic diversity: active reform, open-handed outreach, and wishful thinking nearing benign inertia. Labour, driven by the intense pressure to reinvigorate itself by last May's drubbing by the SNP, has forced through change through positive action: keeping pace with its policies on women's representationit has by far the best ratio of all the parties, with 11 BME councillors and a 2.
Three of those elected were women: one, Shamin Akhtar in East Lothian, is now the council's cabinet member for education and children's services. That may make her the most senior ethnic minority councillor in Scotland. A Labour party spokesman said it was still dissatisfied with its equalities rates, but added there was a real push on this issue before the council elections:.
Each local party is asked to draw up a plan explaining how they will promote ethnic minority and women candidates in winnable seats. Although our deputy leader is of Asian background, we acknowledge there is much more work to do in the party at all levels - there is only one Scottish Labour MP and one MSP who classify themselves as black, Asian minority ethnic.
The SNP, driven by Alex Salmond's efforts to make it an inclusive, civic rather than ethnic nationalist party, has made ificant strides in engagement with "new Scots" as voters, but largely in the west of Scotland and without translating that into actual political representation. It put up 10 BME candidates, similar to Labour's 12, but got just five elected out of in total, a rate of 1. He said councils had to reflect Scotland's population fully, and give black and Asian communities a voice which might otherwise not be heard, and were far better able to push on their particular needs on health or housing:.
The increase in BME councillors is good, it's positive, but it's nowhere near enough. We can't be happy with mediocrity.
We can't get to the stage where we think it's great to make progress having one Asian councillor in Aberdeen, a Chinese one in Dumfries and Pakistani councillors in Glasgow. We can't just say that's a crack in the glass ceiling, and that's good enough for us.
We see that elsewhere: ethnic minorities have been able to raise issues specifically for their communities. If we don't have access, we won't be adequately represented, just by having a single voice. The Tories, who have no active policies but insist they wish to revitalise their reach and appeal, have not one non-white councillor amongst the elected.
They put up three candidates. Scottish Conservatives do not believe in positive discrimination and we do not select our candidates based on anything apart from merit. We want to attract candidates of the highest calibre, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, marital status or disability. The Lib Dems, whose s were halved in the rout of 3 May, have just one Asian councillor, a percentage rate of 1. It had only four non-white candidates out of put up for election, and could have done better. It had no non-white candidates at all this year. We are a small but steadily growing party - members at the moment - and while we don't collect data on the ethnicity of our members our branches around Scotland are open to anyone interested in green politics.
The Scotland blog Scotland. Racial equality in Scottish councils: less male, less stale but still very pale.
Analysis of the Scottish council election shows few black and minority ethnic people in city hall - just 17 out of 1, councillors, and only two parties promise action. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian. Severin CarrellScotland correspondent.
He said: It isn't fantastic, but it's not shocking. Reuse this content.Asian female for North lanarkshire man
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Concerns have been raised that eight teenage girls in Lanarkshire are being sexually groomed by a gang of Asian men from Glasgow