Naked Politics Blogger
In light of it being International Women’s week I would like to take a step outside of the Westminster bubble and have a look at the women running our country, because sorry Boris, but not everyone is always thinking about the single market. So here are my five contenders:
1. Nicola Sturgeon
As the leader of the most popular political party in Scotland, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and the first female First Minister, this lady deserves a spot for one of most influential women in British Politics. Under Sturgeon, SNP won a landslide victory in the 2015 general election winning 56 out of the 59 seats in Scotland and SNP are giving the Westminster parties a run for their money. In 2015 Nicola was voted the most popular living Scot, beating Andy Murray and Billy Connelly. Being a Scots-woman myself I know Billy is very close to the heart of the Scottish people, so being more popular than Billy? If that’s not success I don’t know what is.
2. Mhairi Black
At twenty years old, Mhairi Black is the youngest MP in 250 years to be elected into the House of Commons. She may be young but she is a force to be reckoned with. An SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Black represents one of the UK’s most deprived constituencies with 14.7% of the population being income deprived. Black has made it very clear that she is there to represent the people of her constituency and that she loves it too. In her Maiden Speech (viewed by more than 10 million people) she referred to the people of Paisley as having ‘ a cracking sense of humour’ whilst also criticising Osborne’s budget on cutting subsidies on housing benefits and highlighted the rise of the use of food banks, stating that this was an indication of the failure of the welfare state. If you want straight talking politics Black is the one to give it to you. Mhairi is no stranger to saying what she thinks, she has openly called Westminster out- dated and senseless and that many of her fellow MPs have not got a clue what they are talking about- and lets be honest we are all thinking it too. In the early stages of her career Black is making a lasting impression and I cannot wait to see what impact it is going to have in the future. If you have five minutes I urge you to take a look at her Maiden Speech here- you won’t be disappointed
3. Theresa May
Theresa May is the longest serving Home Secretary for more than 50 years and the potential next leader of the Conservative Party. She is considered to be direct threat to the big boys in the Conservative party George Osborne and Boris Johnson, who also have ambitions to be leader, and so she should be. She is excellent at her job, having been compared to Margaret Thatcher but unlike the Iron Lady, May is a strong advocate for female empowerment. During her time as home secretary she pushed through the Equality Act 2010 and more recently has lead the ‘Make a Stand Campaign’ encouraging women to take speak out against extremism in their societies. Theresa May is definitely keeping Cameron and his friends on their toes.
4. Dianne Abbott
Under Corbyn’s new Labour Party, Dianne Abbot is the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. Abbott is another women that says it how it is. During the vote on whether the UK should commit to airstrikes in Syria the media was obsessed with the split of the Labour party, but Abbott was very clear that the decision should be not be about party politics, stating: ‘who we should be thinking about is the people of Raqqa when those bombers fly over them in the next 24 hours’. Abbott is dedicated to giving the voiceless a voice.
5. Leanne Wood
Leanne Wood is the leader of the Plaid Cymru in Wales and is a front runner to be the First Minister of Wales in the General Assembly Election this coming May. She says it is time to ‘shake up the political system’ and is focusing on health, education and the economy. Wood has promised to write off £6000 student debt for those graduates who return or stay in Wales and wants to bring in 1000 graduate doctors by writing off their student debt if they work in Wales. (No student debt? She’s got my vote). Having left school after her GCSE’s to work in a factory but then returning to do her A-Levels, Wood is a positive role model for young people- you don’t have to have gone to Eton to be in politics but you do need to know who it is you represent.
So these are the women running our country. Happy International Women’s Day!