Sunday, 14 May 2017

Local Diversity Representation

Phew! That's a bit of a mouthful; but the other title I came up with was probably too jokey: "Diversity isn't where a Welsh poet lives" (Dai Verse city.)

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to look at my local elected Council and see how it measures up in regards to gender mix and ethnic diversity. It's only because Labour have for years attempted to 'weaponise' these topics – as we have all witnessed when they fling labels around such as 'sexist!' and 'racist!' (the exclamation marks have in effect part of the word) – so I wondered how the party groups were doing in these two respects, partly as a break from all the current General Election activity. In particular: have Labour put their money where their mouth is, so to speak?

Because we have had so many changes over the years, including several party defections and a few by-elections – even since the last local elections just two years ago – the only sensible way to tackle this is to look at the state of the party groups as they are today (there are no Independents) which means just Conservatives, Labour and UKIP. I found this council web-page useful for reference.

First, the gender mix: here are the numbers of male (M) and female (F) councillors in each party group, followed in each case by the percentage female…

Conservatives (38) – 28 (M); 10 (F); 26% F

Labour (15) – 9 (M); 6 (F); 40% F

UKIP (2) – 2 (M); 0 (F); 0% F

Overall (55) – 39 (M); 16 (F); 29% F

Okay: that's not bad for Labour, actually, and okay for the Conservatives – though those who are avid 'equality' freaks will no doubt be less pleased. Personally, I have never been concerned about these matters – which is probably why it has taken me so many years to post about this! It was actually inspired by something I read about Emmanuel Macron's mostly-white campaign team just minutes before I started writing this; also because of the 'diversity' theme of tonight's Eurovision Song Contest  – which was presented by three white males, by the way…

Right: on to ethnic mix now. It's the same style of tabulation for this, with (W) meaning 'white' and (E) standing for 'ethnic', as these are the preferred terms, as I understand the thinking to be this week. No doubt it will change soon enough(!)

Conservatives (38) – 33 (W); 5 (E); 13% E

Labour (15) – 14 (W); 1 (E); 7% E

UKIP (2) – 2 (W); 0 (E); 0% E

Overall (55) – 49 (W); 6 (E); 11% E

Poor UKIP really don't have enough members to do much about their participation in this diversity exercise – and to be fair to them, when they did have three members (up until several months ago) the third was at least female. Labour, though, are sadly lacking here – and they are the ones who kick up a fuss about these things. Next time they do so, feel free to fling this back at them!

Though there isn't any completely up-to-date census data on this, I think the overall figure is roughly proportional to the mix in our local population of some quarter of a million souls, perhaps a fraction high if anything.

Whether this exercise will prove to have been of any value or not remains to be seen – but at least we have the information on record in a form that might come in handy for future reference purposes.

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