Ashley says Yes. Ashley Graczyk serves the Sighthill and Gorgie Ward and is Edinburgh’s first profoundly deaf Councillor. Ashley’s experience fuelled her interest in disability rights and then politics as she was swept up in Scotland’s independence debate during which she campaigned for No and the status quo. Ashley’s interest in politics continued and she went on to win the Sighthill and Gorgie Ward in 2017 as a Scottish Conservative hoping to influence policies affecting the most vulnerable.
Life as a councillor opened Ashley’s eyes to the human impact of her own party’s policies and she was angered by attempts to cut vital political and employment support – the Access to Elected Office Fund as well as Access to Work. The Conservative’s treatment of Scotland during the Brexit process provided further revelation and left Ashley with no choice but to resign in 2018. Ashley reflects on life as part of, and after, the increasingly right-wing pro-Brexit ‘Scottish’ Conservatives. Creating a successful progressive future for Scotland within the union apparatus is impossible. The political landscape has shifted to reveal a new path.