THE GREENS will not compete in the upcoming general election in the Northern Isles after being told that they could not put forward two candidates on a job-share basis.
Orkney Greens co-convener Steve Sankey said: “Had we been able to field a candidate on a job-share basis we would have done so, but at present we’re prevented by electoral law from doing so”.
So far the only publicly declared candidates for the Northern Isles seat in the 12 December election are incumbent Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael and Labour’s Coilla Drake, who resides in Westray.
Shetland Greens co-coordinator Debra Nicolson said that the plan for the party had been for her to stand officially alongside Sankey, “advocating for a joint, job-share basis”.
The role would have been divided 50/50 with Debra taking care of Shetland, and her colleague taking care of Orkney.
Sankey said: “Greens do politics differently, and we saw the option of a job-share as an ideal opportunity in a shared constituency to share the roles.
“In any other walk of life employers by law must positively explore creative solutions to a changing world and its workplaces. Not so the antediluvian House of Commons, though, where the combined effect of legislation is constrained to the candidate ‘himself’, phrased in the masculine, and singular.”
Nicolson added: “It’s ironic that employers have to work hard under equal opportunities laws to accommodate women in the workplace, and yet the so-called Mother-of-all-Parliaments can’t be bothered to do so.
“We would have stood if things had been different, and the current laws must be changed.”
Sankey said that “capacity, especially so close to the recent by-election in Shetland, and the lack of proportional representation at Westminster” also played a part in the decision not to field a candidate.
The party took the chance, however, to reiterate that the Northern Isles are “ideally-placed to lead Scotland in showing how a carbon-neutral economy can be won from the Green opportunities of the future”.
Shetland Greens added that focusing on the 2021 Scottish Parliament election is the “best use of our resources and current capacity”.
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