BME Participation in 2012 Election
The 2012 Scottish Local Government elections were the first in recent years that had been decoupled from other elections. Previous rounds had taken place alongside the elections to the Scottish Parliament, boosting turnout and media coverage, but also leading to feelings that they were not being treated as important elections in their own right. Following the problems of the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections, where spoilage rates reached as high as nearly 14 per cent in some areas, the decision was made to separate the two elections, operating as they were under different voting systems, leaving the Local Government elections to take place on their own in 2012.
The Scottish political scene remains one in which Scotland’s minority ethnic (ME) population remains under-represented. Heading into the 2012 Local Government elections, this was highlighted by the facts that not only were the numbers poor, but there were no minority ethnic women councillors and very little ethnic diversity.
The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER)1 undertook a small scale research project with 2012 Local Government candidates from minority ethnic communities, to explore their experiences of participating in political and democratic life in Scotland and to suggest possible ways to increase the level of participation.
We also undertook a small scale research study with minority ethnic communities, to explore their experiences of participating in political and democratic life in Scotland and to suggest possible ways to increase the level of participation.
These reports build upon the work undertaken by CEMVO Scotland in their Inclusive Democracy Project (IDP), which published its final report in 2010 exploring some of the issues in greater detail.