Scotland's top 50 powerful women
THEY REPRESENT many walks of life, come from every background and range in age from late eighties to mid-thirties. From Lorraine Kelly - "Oprah North" - to Anna Gregor - battling to improve Scotland’s cancer services - the names on our list represent the 50 women who are doing most to shape Scotland’s future. Whether Scots by birth or adoption, they share a burning desire to succeed, a willingness to use their talents for the greater good and a commitment to putting Scotland on the map.
In a land of kilts, football and whisky, it is all too easy to underestimate the contribution women make at the highest level. It is easier still to underestimate the grindingly hard work that goes into making it to the top. Most of the women featured here combine many roles and their power is often the least interesting thing about them. The purpose of our list is to applaud them and bring them wider public recognition.
To this end, Iain Martin, The Scotsman’s editor, and a team of the paper’s senior female journalists met to battle out the list. We considered the candidates’ achievements, international clout, national standing and their ability to make a difference to our daily lives. Spirited arguments and defences abounded in what turned out to be a highly enjoyable evening. In the end, there was a remarkable degree of consensus as to the final 50. It is an impressive list and one unimaginable in The Scotsman of 50 or even 20 years ago.
If it inspires the next generation of powerful women, so much the better.
The panel: Gillian Bowditch, Writer and Columnist; Emma Cowing, Features Editor; Heti Davies, Columnist; Gillian Glover, Chief Writer; Katie Grant, Columnist; Iain Martin, Editor; Lee Randall, Assistant Editor; Lindsey Rogerson, Personal Finance Editor
50 ANDREA NOLAN
DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
In 1999, Nolan became the first woman to be appointed dean of any faculty at Glasgow and of any veterinary school in the UK or Ireland. Her wide ranging interests have resulted in her being much in demand as a speaker at national and international meetings in many scientific fields. She was recently appointed a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
49 ANDREA CALDERWOOD
Andrea Calderwood prompted a flurry of headlines when she was appointed BBC Scotland head of drama at the age of only 28. In 2000 she founded the feature film production company Slate Films, which produced Mike Figgis’s digital feature Hotel. During her four years at BBC Scotland she was responsible for the company’s first feature films, Billy and Gillies Mackinnon’s Small Faces and John Madden’s Mrs Brown.
48 CATHY JAMIESON MSP
MINISTER FOR JUSTICE
Close to Jack McConnell, she softened her hard-left, anti-Blairite stance when offered the chance of office under her friend the First Minister. She watches his back on the left, in return for which she secured the post of deputy leader of Scottish Labour. She has a degree in Fine Art from Glasgow School of Art, and a stint as education minister behind her. She is married with one son.
47 MARY CONTINI
WRITER AND ENTREPRENEUR
Author and influential cookery writer, Contini runs Edinburgh’s world-famous delicatessen Valvona and Crolla with her husband Philip. One of eight children, she was born in Cockenzie, East Lothian, but her family originally come from the Abruzzi mountains, south of Rome. Her grandmother Marietta inspired her love of cooking, and many of her traditional family recipes appear in Contini’s book Dear Francesca a biographical and culinary journey between Italy and Scotland, dedicated to Contini’s daughter.
46 GAY GROSSART
Wife of Edinburgh merchant banker Sir Angus, Lady Grossart, is not only one of Scotland’s most famous hostesses but is also a highly acclaimed contemporary Scottish painter. Plugged into the Edinburgh establishment and the highest echelons of Scottish society, she divides her time between their castle in Fife and a house in the New Town. Trained at Edinburgh College of Art and Leith School of Art, she has exhibited widely in group and solo shows throughout the UK since 1986. She has one daughter.
45 BARBARA MCKISSACK
HEAD OF DRAMA, BBC SCOTLAND
Programmes such as Monarch of the Glen and Two Thousand Acres of Skye have earned plaudits and gained an international reputation for the output of the BBC Scotland drama department. Three new series commissioned by McKissack will have hit our screens by the end of the year. Previously an independent producer McKissack has had a guiding role in the rise of Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay. She was executive producer of Ratcatcher and also oversaw Morvern Callar.
44 DEIRDRE KINLOCH-ANDERSON
DIRECTOR KINLOCH ANDERSON
Although she married into the kilt-making dynasty, Kinloch-Anderson has played a leading role in raising tartan’s profile on the global stage. The company has famously designed tartans for Scottish corporate giants such as ScottishPower, Intelligent Finance and Highland Spring. She can also rightly be said to be the woman who brought tartan to the Japanese and Taiwanese, where the company now has around 250 outlets. A graduate of St Andrew’s University where she met her husband Douglas, Kinloch-Anderson is a firm believer that women should earn their place in the country’s boardrooms.
43 CAROL McGREGOR
The retired special needs teacher from Crieff has kept her feet firmly on the ground despite the international success of her actor son Ewan. Fiercely protective, those who want access to him, from Hollywood directors to local newspapers, must often seek her approval first. McGregor now divides her time between producing films and running AIDA, the company she founded which provides visually impaired with a descriptive commentary of a film. With 1.7 million people in the UK registered blind and another 40 million across the rest of the world, there is huge potential for her product.
42 SHIRLEY ROBERTSON OBE
SAILOR AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLIST
Shirley Robertson, 36, was the skipper of the sailing trio which bagged Britain its first gold of the Athens Olympics as they won the Yngling class with a day to spare. She became the first woman in Olympic history to collect gold in two different classes of boat when she was victorious along with crew Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb.
Born in Dundee, Shirley Robertson began sailing on the River Tay.
41 PROFESSOR JOAN STRINGER
PRINCIPAL AND VICE-CHANCELLOR, NAPIER UNIVERSITY, EDINBURGH
Professor Stringer, 53, is the first woman to head a Scottish university. She is renowned for her commitment to a socially inclusive education system. She chaired the Scottish Executive’s Strategic Group on Women and is a former Equal Opportunities Commissioner. She is the former principal of Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh.
40 DONALDA MACKINNON HEAD OF CBBC SCOTLAND AND HEAD OF GAELIC
Former teacher Mackinnon now combines the jobs as head of CBBC Scotland and Head of Gaelic.
As head of the Gaelic department MacKinnon has presided over the expansion of the online service which now connects Gaelic speaking communities around the world. She is responsible for expanding the education content of the service.
39 AMANDA HARVIE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE SCOTTISH FINANCIAL ENTERPRISE
Harvie was a surprising choice for the top spot at SFE last year. Previously heading up Aberdeen’s Chamber of Commerce, Harvie now champions the interests of fund management groups in Scotland. Given the key role financial services plays in driving Scotland’s and particularly the capital’s economy, Harvie’s place at the helm of SFE ensures she is courted for her views by both politicians and the media.
38 EILEEN MACKAY
NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND
The only woman on the board of the country’s biggest bank, Mackay is a former senior civil servant who has been sharing chit-chat around the boardroom table of Scotland’s largest company for the past eight years. Her training in the Treasury and then as principal finance officer at The Scottish Office ensure she can hold her own with the financial heavyweights on RBS’s board. In addition to her duties at RBS Mackay is a director of Edinburgh Investment Trust, Scottish Financial Enterprise and the British Library.
37 ANNE MACKENZIE
JOURNALIST AND BROADCASTER
Anne Mackenzie began her broadcasting career at Grampian Television in 1981. Moving to the BBC in 1995, she presented BBC Radio Scotland’s morning news programme Good Morning Scotland and BBC TV’s Reporting Scotland before moving to London, where she presented Westminster with Anne Mackenzie, Despatch Box, Breakfast with Frost, Radio 4’s The World Tonight and News 24’s Hard Talk. She continues to present The World Tonight and is a regular presenter on Newsnight Scotland.
36 DR ALISON ELLIOT
MODERATOR, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
Dr Elliot is the first woman ever to hold this position. First Minister Jack McConnell described her appointment as an "historic day for the Church and for Scotland, which reflects the changing face of Scottish society". As associate director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Elliot is also a respected academic, as well as a published author and regular broadcaster.
35 FRANCES CAIRNCROSS
Educated at Laurel Bank School, Glasgow, then Oxford and Brown Universities, she spent 11 years as principal economic columnist of the Guardian, before moving to the Economist where she has been a senior editor since 1984. She is Governor of Britain’s National Institute of Economics and Social research, and a non-executive director of the Alliance and Leicester Group.
34 DR JACQUELINE MOK
CONSULTANT PAEDIATRICIAN, THE ROYAL HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN IN EDINBURGH
Mok is a leading authority on child protection in Scotland. She is also chair of the Child Protection Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Paediactrics and Child Health and a member of the Scottish executive’s Expert Reference Group on Children’s Services. Earlier this year she co-authored a study for NHS Quality Improvement Scotland.
33 AUDREY BAXTER
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, BAXTERS
Since returning to Scotland to take the helm of the Fochabers-based family business famous for soups and jams, Baxter has presided over a major overhaul of business operations. Although she handed over the day-to-day reins to Norman Soutar in June, she retains the post of executive chairman. Earlier this year she was named Grampian’s Industrialist of the Year.
32 PROFESSOR EVE JOHNSTONE CBE
PSYCHIATRIST AND ACADEMIC
Eve Johnstone is professor of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh. She has carried out groundbreaking research into the development of schizophrenia, and led a team from the Medical Research Council which reported on autism, finding it to be more common than was previously thought. She also conducted a review of medical research which showed that unborn babies can feel pain only 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
31 LESLEY RIDDOCH
WRITER AND BROADCASTER
Belfast-born Riddoch has been a public figure ever since she became the first female president of the Oxford Union. Her Sony award winning show on Radio Scotland is a hugely influential component of political life, bringing together listeners, experts and members of the Scottish parliament on a regular basis. She is a contributing editor who has also presented programmes on BBC Radio Four, BBC Two and Channel 4.
Founder and director of the feminist magazine Harpies and Quines, she became Assistant and Deputy Editor of the Scotsman and oversaw the newspaper’s name change to the Scotswoman, in honour of International Women’s Day.
30 SANDRA HOOD
CHAIR, THE EXPERT GROUP ON PROSTITUTION
A former assistant chief constable of Strathclyde Police, Hood was, at one time, widely tipped to become Scotland’s first female chief constable and was believed to have been short-listed for the top role at Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary. She overhauled the way the Strathclyde force dealt with rape victims and set up pioneering female and child units after studying American methods.
29 VICKY FEATHERSTONE
DIRECTOR, PAINES PLOUGH THEATRE COMPANY, AND DIRECTOR DESIGNATE, THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND
Featherstone, 37, is in charge of the new National Theatre of Scotland and London-based theatre company Paines Plough, which has worked with Scottish writers, including David Greig, Gregory Burke, Douglas Maxwell and Linda McLean. She has a reputation for anti-elitism and a wish to bring new audiences into theatres for the first time.
She says: "It is only by saturating the theatre with it that audiences will dare to take the risk on what they see."
28 PATRICIA FERGUSON
MSP, MINISTER FOR PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS
Ferguson’s quiet demeanour and style mark her out at Holyrood. She is among Jack McConnell’s closest political confidantes and has the most influence on the First Minister after his wife, Bridget. Ferguson made her name as one of the parliament’s deputy presiding officers. Ferguson, the MSP for Glasgow Maryhill, is married to the MSP for Glasgow Anniesland Bill Butler.
27 KATE DONEGAN
GOVERNOR, GLENOCHIL PRISON
A former governor of Cornton Vale Prison in Stirling, Donegan is widely credited for revolutionising women’s prisons in Scotland. She was previously deputy governor at Barlinnie. Donegan was appointed to Glenochil in 2001 after five years at Cornton Vale, where she had a remit to transform the prison after a spate of suicides in 1996. Within a year of taking on the Cornton Vale role the prison received a glowing report from HM Inspector of Prisons. Despite her obvious success, her elegant appearance has, on occasion, attracted the wrong kind of media attention, but she refuses to play up to the role as a glamorous female.
=25 ELIZABETH CAMERON
LORD PROVOST OF GLASGOW
LORD PROVOST OF EDINBURGH
The lady provosts are also Lords Leiutenant (the Queen's representatives) of their respective domains. Hinds, 47, is the civic leader of the Scottish capital, but her influence reaches much further. As provost, the councillor of the Muirhouse and Drylaw wards is chair of the Edinburgh International Festival Society, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a Director of Edinburgh Lifelong Learning Partnership and Dynamic Earth Charitable Trust. Until recently she was also chair of Lothian and Borders Police Board.
Her west coast counterpart, Cameron, is a former Convener of Glasgow City Council's Arts and Culture Committee and holds a number of national and international cultural posts; she is a member of the Scottish Arts Council, a member of the National Galleries Board of Trustees, President of the Culture Commission Confederation of Cities of the Atlantic Arc and Vice Chair Les Rencontres Association of European Cultureal Cities. She is married with a step-daughter.
24 DRUE HEINZ
MULTI-MILLIONAIRE PHILANTHROPIST AND PATRON OF THE ARTS
A close friend of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, she owns Hawthornden Castle near Edinburgh. The top floor of the castle was converted into a writers’ retreat, which has been used by Alastair Gray and Ian Rankin. Heinz provides money to many major literary and arts awards as well as a number of university posts (beneficiaries include the universities of Oxford and Pittsburgh). Heinz has also made generous bequests to the British Museum and the London Library. She has homes in Ascot and the US but spends every August at Hawthornden for the Edinburgh Festival.
23 SARAH MACAULAY
Macaulay was one of the most influential people in public relations as a partner in the firm Hobsbawm Macaulay, until she gave up work to concentrate on her family. Macaulay was instrumental in the Emily’s List campaign to ensure more females in parliament. Macaulay was brought up in London. Her Scottish father worked in publishing and her mother was a teacher. She married Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, in 2000 and the couple have a baby son, John.
22 DR KAREN VOUSDEN
DIRECTOR, THE BEATSON INSTITUTE FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Vousden received a First Class Honours in Genetics and Microbiology from the University of London in 1978 before doing a PhD in Genetics. She became a visiting fellow at the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, National Cancer Institute, in Maryland, spending time at the American Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. She moved to Glasgow in 2002 as Director of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. Her research focuses on p53, a tumour suppressor protein that plays a key role in preventing cancer.
21 ANN RUSHFORTH
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SCOTNURSING
In the last 17 years Rushforth has built her nursing agency into a multi-million pound business. Her focus on flexibility has allowed thousands of nurses to fit their jobs around their lives. Her success has benefited the local community of Old Kilpatrick as ScotNursing has built 1m HQ and call centre in the town.
20 LADY CLAIRE MACDONALD
The award-winning food and cookery writer has played a key role in promoting Scottish cooking as a distinct cuisine both in the global and domestic markets. The author of 16 best-selling cookery books, she lectures and demonstrates recipes across the UK, Europe, the United States and Australia. She has also been a member of the Council of the National Trust for Scotland, serving on its Catering Committee. The wife of Lord Macdonald, Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald, her social connections are impeccable.
19 LIZ LOCHHEAD
WRITER, PLAYWRIGHT, POET
During the 1980s Lochhead, poet, feminist, translator and broadcaster, produced several anthologies of poetry and also gained critical acclaim as a playwright, notably with her Scots translator of Molire’s Tartuffe, under the title: "Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off". She continues to be inspired by classic world literature, translating Euripides’ Medea and returning to Molire in 2002 to turn The Misanthrope into a satire n the modern Scottish parliament in the play Miseryguts.
18 DAME MURIEL SPARK
The Grande Dame of Edinburgh literature is still a hardworking writer and has been the sensation of this year’s Book Festival at the ripe old age of 86.
Dame Muriel has just published her 23rd novel The Finishing School. Her age may bring physical discomfort but her famous dry wit is as sharp as ever. "I am a comic writer," she explains. "I like wit, but I don’t like laughter. I always think that I’m getting better, but I generally keep that feeling to myself."
Dame Muriel has lived in Italy since 1967, and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993 for services to literature.
17 ANN GLOAG
Along with her brother Brian Souter, Gloag has changed the shape of public transport in Scotland and the UK, since they used their father’s redundancy cheque to launch their bus empire. Most recently Gloag, who owns around 11 per cent of the company, scooped two global hotel chains to buy Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire, paying 4 million for the property. Gloag has used her position and influence to raise enormous sums for charity.
16 CATHERINE LOCKERBIE
DIRECTOR, THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL
"Catherine Lockerbie lives and breathes books," said professor Geoff Ward, chancellor of Dundee University when presenting her with an honorary doctorate. Formerly literary editor of The Scotsman, Lockerbie’s life is a celebration of Scotland’s literary culture.
Since she took the reigns at Charlotte Square, the Book Festival has grown to be the largest in the world. Lockerbie is currently also helping to put together Edinburgh’s bid to become the world’s first Unesco City of Literature.
15 EILEEN GALLAGHER
INDEPENDENT TELEVISION PRODUCER
When Eileen Gallagher set up Shed Productions in 1998 with former Coronation Street producer Brian Park and writers Ann McManus and Maureen Chadwick, the choice of name was a joke. "We called it Shed Productions because we were either going to make shed-loads of money or end up living in a garden shed," she said.
In fact Gallagher, along with her fellow directors have created some of the most talked-about and influential drama series on television today, producing the hit series Footballers’ Wives and Bad Girls among others. The company they created is now worth an estimated 15 million.
14 MARGO MACDONALD
The former SNP MSP who now sits as an independent is one of only two members of the Scottish Parliament known to the public by just her first name - Margo. The other, of course, is Jack (McConnell) which is fitting, as the First Minister regularly seeks MacDonald’s counsel on a number of matters despite their differing political views. MacDonald was the scourge of those behind the overspend of the Scottish Parliament and it was in no small measure her dogged pursuit of the truth that led McConnell to set up the inquiry into the cost of Holyrood.
13 BARONESS GOUDIE
Baroness Mary Goudie is one of Scottish Labour’s most prolific and accomplished networkers. The life peer was a close friend of the late Donald Dewar, and she is close to Gordon Brown and Wendy Alexander. However, her friendship with leading lights in the Brown camp has not stopped her from forming close links with both Tony and Cherie Blair.
Baroness Goudie is the founder of the exclusive Aeolus networking dinner club. Her distinguished career has included roles such as European director of public affairs for WWF, director of the Hansard Society, director of the House magazine and as an independent public affairs consultant.
12 SHEILA MCLEAN
PROFESSOR OF LAW AND ETHICS IN MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Director of the Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine, McLean joined the Department of Forensic Medicine and Science in 1975, having worked for three years as area reporter to the Children’s Panel in Glasgow. She established the Institute of Law and Ethics in Medicine at the University of Glasgow in 1985 and in 1987 transferred into the school of law. She has recently reviewed the consent provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.
During her time at the university she established the honours programme in medical law and two part-time masters degrees. She currently chairs the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the Inter-Agency forum on Female Offending.
11 SUSAN RICE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, LLOYDS TSB SCOTLAND
American-born Rice secured her place in UK banking history when she became the first woman to head a clearing bank. Her tenure has seen unprecedented organic growth at the bank and the company has taken a lead role in championing both the arts and sport in Scotland. A master in the art of public relations, she started her career in finance at Natwest’s US operations before heading up Bank of Scotland’s personal banking operations. Rice splits her time between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, where her husband is chancellor of the University.
10 EVELYN GLENNIE
Despite becoming profoundly deaf by the age of 12, Evelyn Glennie has risen to become one of the world’s top percussionists and developed a style of performance which is all her own. Wearing trousers and no shoes she dances around on stage, sensing the vibrations through her feet. Performing over 100 concerts around the world every year she is also involved in a bewildering variety of literary, musical and artistic projects. When she began 20 years ago there was barely a repertoire for a solo classical percussionist, but she has redefined the genre, commissioning more than 100 works and inspiring many more.
Given the OBE at the age of 27 Glennie has notched up 44 awards, including a Grammy in 1989 for her first album and a Bafta nomination for her first film score. The percussionist has hosted two series of her own television programme, and has collaborated with film director Thomas Riedelsheimer on a new film, Touch the Sound, which premiered at this year’s film festival.
9 LADY COSGROVE
LADY Cosgrove’s elevation to the bench ended almost 500 years of male domination within the Scottish legal establishment. As Hazel Aronson, Lady Cosgrove joined the Faculty of Advocates in 1968 after attending Glasgow High School for Girls and graduating from Glasgow University. Married to a dental surgeon, John Cosgrove, the 58-year-old is a mother-of-two and a grandmother.
In 1979 she became the first female sheriff in Glasgow and later transferred to Edinburgh where she was the senior sheriff. In 1992 she was made a temporary High Court and Court of Session judge, followed by her historic full appointment to the bench in 1996. She took her husband’s name in her judicial title of Lady Cosgrove.
8 ANNE GUNTHER
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, STANDARD LIFE BANK
Gunther is Scotland’s most powerful business woman, not for her day job - although her achievements there have been considerable - but rather in her capacity as chairman of the Council of Mortgage Lenders. There are 12 million mortgages in force in the UK, over one million of them in Scotland, and as for the vast majority of people their home is their major or only asset, anyone who speaks for 98 per cent of mortgage lenders is powerful. She has been instrumental in changing government thinking and shaping legislation on regulation of mortgages. Gunther began her banking career at NatWest as a graduate management trainee.
7 WENDY ALEXANDER
Wendy Alexander’s star shone brilliantly post-devolution when she was hand-picked by her mentor and former boss, Donald Dewar, to become a member of the first Scottish Cabinet. She went through a baptism of fire with the political responsibility for abolishing the controversial law banning the promotion of homosexuality in Scotland’s schools. She decided not to oppose Jack McConnell for the post of first minister and in 2002 she resigned the Cabinet for "personal reasons". Later that year she was appointed visiting professor at Strathclyde Business School and has organised the Allander series of lectures. Widely expected to rise again, she is still regarded as one of the most influential politicians in the country, despite her current backbench position.
6 LORRAINE KELLY
This year, on the cusp of her 45th birthday, the Queen of Daytime Television celebrates 20 years on the couch. As one of television’s most bankable stars, Kelly has never met a demographic she couldn’t win over. A group of students have created a website devoted to her cleavage, gay men - bizarrely - rate her as a sex symbol, and she came in third, with 44 per cent of the vote, in a recent survey identifying women whom other women most admire. Since daytime audiences are notoriously loyal, the woman who has their ear has the power to shape opinion up and down the country. And that woman is Lorraine Kelly.
She started in television in 1984, earning a reputation for accessibility and speaking her mind. These days she presents her own show, LK TODAY, on GMTV, going out live four days a week. From September she’ll also co-host This Morning two days a week (in a deal reputed to be worth 150K), alongside Phillip Schofield. This year she also became the first female rector of Dundee University.
5 DR ANNA GREGOR
Dr Anna Gregor is Scotland’s lead cancer clinician, appointed by the Scottish executive to oversea reform of Scotland’s NHS cancer services.
Also known as the country’s cancer czar, she is currently leading a national programme which aims to change the delivery, planning and funding of cancer services in Scotland. A native of Czechoslovakia, she completed her medical training in London before moving to Scotland in 1980 to take up a post at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. She moved to Glasgow in 1983 and has returned to Edinburgh where she is now lead cancer clinician for the Lothian University NHS Trust. In her time in Scotland, Dr Gregor has helped to establish a range of innovative services which have improved the care of cancer patients. In 2002 she was awarded the NCH women of influence award.
4 BRIDGET MCCONNELL
DIRECTOR OF CULTURAL AND LEISURE SERVICES, GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL
Often described as Scotland’s real arts minister, Bridget McConnell is a formidable organiser and steeped in Scotland’s arts culture. One of seven children, she grew up in the mining traditions of Kilsyth and became the first member of her family to go to university. She studied music and art history at St Andrews. While Mrs McConnell has worked hard to be recognised as a figure in her own right, her influence extends to the very top of politics in Scotland, thanks to her husband Jack McConnell, the First Minister. She has two children.
3 KIRSTY WARK
JOURNALIST AND BROADCASTER
Born in Dumfries, Kirsty Wark is one of Scotland’s best kent faces, a journalist and television presenter who crops up on everything from Newsnight to architectural documentaries.
Her head girl gravitas and terrier-esque interview style have undoubtedly made her a TV favourite, but it is with her production company, Wark Clements, which she runs with her husband, Alan Clements, where she has the real clout, with a hefty BBC contract and a lucrative merger earlier this year with Muriel Gray’s production company Ideal World.
It is there, however, that she has also courted controversy, specifically over her refusal to hand over the tapes of a Wark Clements documentary, A Gathering Place, about the building of the new Parliament, to the Fraser Inquiry.
With the ear of many both at Holyrood and at Westminster, Wark’s influence extends into every crannie of Scottish public life. Her determination to make her home in Glasgow, not London (she often takes the Sleeper home after Newsnight in order to have breakfast with her children) has also won her admirers.
2 ELISH ANGIOLINI
SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND
Described by all those who meet her as an energetic moderniser, Angiolini was the first non-advocate to be appointed to the position of Solicitor General. A former procurator fiscal and an active prosecutor, rather than part of the legal establishment, she is without obvious political ties. Yet she is also frank and forthright, and determined that the law should not be seen as a middle class boy’s club.
Born and brought up in Govan, she witnessed, first-hand, the slow and painful disintegration of the close-knit community she had known as a child, and watched drug use and crime rates escalate. When she was still a teenager, she was called as a court witness to a local break-in; the experience, she says, was formative, though not in an entirely positive way. She said later that she felt the court she gave evidence in was both a rude and hostile environment.
She has been keen to change things ever since, and still wishes to improve the way that the criminal justice system deals with young or otherwise vulnerable witnesses. Her appointment in November 2001 was welcomed within the establishment as a ground-breaking change of image for Scottish law.
1 JK ROWLING
In terms of international prestige, national influence and an ability to change daily lives, Joanne Rowling is in a league of her own. No other woman in Scotland commands the same level of power, nor uses it so wisely. And that is before we even consider her sheer economic power.
Her fortune is estimated at a whopping 435 million and she is effectively a one-woman industry. Her creation, Harry Potter, is internationally renowned and she was recently named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine. She is credited with propelling children’s literature into a new dimension and encouraging a generation of boys (and girls) to read.
But Rowling also has the ability to make governments sit up and take notice. In July, she wrote to the Czechoslovakian Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla complaining about the use of caged beds in Czech psychiatric wards. The day after Rowling’s letter was received, the Czech health minister ordered an end to the practice. She uses her power judiciously but her backing for Edinburgh’s bid to become the first UNESCO city of literature has given a significant boost to that campaign.
She is also active in a number of charities, throwing her weight behind the campaign for better facilities and treatments for sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, the disease from which her mother died.
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