Midlothian needs a new class of representatives! It’s simply a fact that those who vote least, or not at all, are often the most disadvantaged groups in society, writes councillor Kelly Parry (SNP).
It’s why I believe passionately that these are the voices that should represent us in our communities and in our parliaments, and it’s what drove me to pursuing becoming a councillor last year.
Growing up in Woodburn in the 1980s in a single parent family household was tough going, but it gave me the kind of experience and determination that is so often missing from our politics.
I was very proud of being the youngest woman councillor elected in Midlothian, but also acknowledge that does not mean that there were not other women who were just as capable as me that didn’t make it.
Midlothian really matters to me and I’m proud to be able to play a part in how Midlothian is run as part of the council administration and as a ward councillor for Midlothian West.
But for many, being a councillor is not something that is seen as accessible. Whilst women, and people from working class backgrounds have begun to play a key role in the Scottish and UK Parliaments there are still far too few women councillors in Scotland, and whilst I hope this may change somewhat next year there is still lots to do to make sure local government is accessible - it’s very much still a man’s world in local government.
But we can change that.
Political parties can encourage people from all genders, race, disabilities and backgrounds, pursue mechanisms for balance, and provide role models for people to aspire to. But ultimately, that power lies with the electorate and ensuring we have candidates that come from a variety of backgrounds. I’m proud and humbled that Midlothian, the county I grew up in, went to school in, and cherish deeply, has given me that chance and I intend to bring others who are like me, with me.
I would love to hear from anyone who would like more information on what it is like to be a councillor, regardless of which political party you come from or none at all.