AN unsisterly confession to start: I am not a fan of Woman’s Hour. I have tried, but there is just something about its worthy mix of domesticity, softly-softly politics, medical matters and forced chumminess that feels like the listening equivalent of eating a jumper (organic wool, naturally).

One item did catch my attention this week, however. The BBC Radio 4 programme was going to name the best place for a woman to live in Britain. Would it be a wealthy London borough, a rural spot in Wales, or one of those places in Scotland where the beaches are the stuff of paradise?

It was none of the above. Heaven on Earth turned out to be right outside my window in East Dunbartonshire. A study by the National Centre for Social Research looked at income, education, culture, life expectancy, housing, safety, happiness, and environment.

From the swirl of statistics, East Dunbartonshire emerged top, followed by East Renfrewshire and West Oxfordshire. At the bottom of the pile was the London borough of Islington, then Blackpool and Corby. Woman’s Hour was so tickled by the findings it despatched a team to broadcast yesterday’s programme from the Fort Theatre in Bishopbriggs. The effort was appreciated, even if the host did begin by saying East Dunbartonshire was seven minutes from the centre of Glasgow. Unless the residents have taken to using jetpacks, consider that seven miles.

As many a reader of The Herald would confirm, East Dunbartonshire is a great place to live for all the reasons one would expect. The schools are good, ditto the healthcare, there are plenty of green spaces, it is close to Glasgow and crime rates are low. The council should give the place a new motto: “East Dunbartonshire: home of the waggy tail (and that’s not just our gazillion dogs).”

With such a glowing portrait of East Dunbartonshire, and another local authority area in Scotland coming second in the survey, Woman’s Hour might be in line for a shout-out at First Minister’s Questions today. Between the council, MSPs, and the MP the area is enough of a political soup for several parties to claim credit.

One wonders if any, however, will be bold enough to state the obvious about the findings and brave enough to say how the outcome was achieved. With the quality of life to be had there, what is East Dunbartonshire, after all, but a microcosm of what the whole of Scotland (or indeed the UK) should be for men as much as women?

Wherever they live, people’s basic needs are pretty, well, basic. It is no mystery that they want to live in safe, well-maintained communities with good schools, decent healthcare, transport, and the money to provide for themselves and their families. The dogs in the Easterhouse street could tell you that much. The same straight-talking hounds will also tell you how such a place comes into being. It is money, plain and simple. Sure, there is wealth of sorts to be found in community feeling, green spaces and the like but you cannot beat cold, hard, cash for making good things come about. As the survey found, East Dunbartonshire has Scotland’s largest percentage of highly skilled workers, with wages at an hourly average of £15.07. It has been that way for generations. Wealth has been passed down and stayed in the area.

With a certain level of income and education come certain demands, among them for good schools (private as well as state) and other services. Residents, rightly, expect to get what they pay for in taxes and fees. Such is the generally good condition of facilities and services, East Dunbartonshire was able to weather the council tax freeze better than most.

None of this should come as a shock but bringing the not-so-great parts of Scotland up to the level of East Dunbartonshire would require the kind of radical thinking the likes of which mainstream Scotland has thus far been reluctant to engage in, far less put into action. To live in the west of Scotland in general is to become accepting of a patchwork landscape in which wealthy areas sit alongside poverty-blighted ones. The only other place in the UK I have experienced this to the same extent is London.

While London has its tower blocks nestling beside millionaires rows, East Dunbartonshire has Possil, an area where the biggest building is a health centre battling valiantly to help locals beat an average life expectancy of 66 for men (in East Dunbartonshire it is at least 10 years more). Amid all the back-slapping, it should be noted that East Dunbartonshire is not without its problems. Most of these, indeed, stem from the very things that make it such a desirable place to live. Some of the green spaces we profess to be so dear to us have been sold off, with large new housing estates being built. Those who cannot afford a new house will struggle to buy anywhere else in the area.

Widening access to green spaces has meant installing cycle lanes at vast expense and inconvenience to the people who live and work here.

Even without the new housing developments, the traffic at weekends makes going anywhere between 10am and 6pm a pain (particularly if you are stuck behind a bus on a road that has been narrowed to create cycle lanes, or the cyclists, for reasons beyond me, are refusing to use the lanes). On Sundays, the road to Mugdock Country Park is treated like a race track.

The new residents (and some present ones) want supermarkets and other megastores, which in turn drive out the smaller retailers that keep high streets alive. None of this is unique to East Dunbartonshire but what is happening here inevitably spreads to other areas. Success brings its own problems. In Jordanhill, a short drive away, plans to build more than 400 homes on the Jordanhill Campus site have upset locals. Good luck fighting (Glasgow) city hall on that. If East Dunbartonshire is any guide, you will need it.

So thanks for the honour, Woman’s Hour, but I think on balance we’ll keep quiet about it for the time being. At least until we in Scotland figure out how to spread the joys of East Dunbartonshire around a little more.