Tag Archives: diversity

Election diversity – as if by magic

The Conservative Government has called a General Election for 8 June 2017 after its leader Ms May repeatedly said she would not do so.

We have responded with the truncated General Election process to ensure a full slate of candidates are in place by June 2017.  This has seen candidates up and down the country engaged with internal applications and shortlisting processes in a bid to become the PPC candidates for this election.

As if by magic, we may well see our biggest ever selection of visible ethnic minority candidates making it to PPC status – fulfilling a personal pledge of our Leader Tim Farron, who openly seeks diversity for both internal and external political positions.

Mr Farron has frequently articulated the importance of diversity and our party’s credibility.  No doubt he will be pleased with the current wave of candidates being announced as PPC  candidates who are also known as ethnic minorities.

So far we have in first name alphabetical order: Alexander Cunliffe for Ruislip Northwood and Pinner, London; Anita Day for Grantham and Stamford; Anita Prabhakar for Mansfield;  Amna Ahmad for Sutton and Cheam, London; Brian Haley for Tottenham, London; Dave Ravel for Hackney South, London; Dawud Islam for Middlesbrough; Gitanjali Gordon for South Shields; Glanville Williams for East Ham, London; Hina Malik for Feltham and Heston;  Humaira Sanders for Ealing North, London; Irfan Ahmed for Blackburn, Manchester; Joe Naitta for Derby South; Joyce Onstad for Hammersmith, Marisha Ray for Chipping Barnet, London; London; Michael Bukola for Camberwell and Peckham, London; Nigel Bakhai for Southhall; Rabi Martins for Luton North; Sarah Cheung Johnson for South Cambs; Suzanna Austin for Kettering; Tahir Maher for Milton Keynes South; Ukonu Obasi for Walthamstow, London; Zuffar Haq for Harborough Oadby and Wigston; and Zulfiqar Ali for Huddersfield.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 7 Comments

Fancy being a Lib Dem candidate? Our webinars show you how

The Candidate & Diversity Team will be hosting a series of webinars on the candidate process; covering aspects of approval, selection and candidacy.

The sessions will be led by some of the party’s most experienced candidates and trainers. Full details below:

Becoming an Approved Candidate |Thursday 13 April, 6.30pm| Trainer TBC

Covering:

  • The candidate application process
  • Assessment day preparation
  • Understanding the candidacy competency framework

Successful Selection |Monday 24 April, 6.30pm| Trainer: Lisa Smart, PPC for Hazel Grove 

  • Winning your selection campaign
  • Selection Literature
  • Communicating your message
  • Engaging local members
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Come to the future women MPs weekend!

The Campaign for Gender Balance (CGB) and the Diversity & Talent Support Team are pleased to announce that this year’s Future Women MPs Weekend will be held on Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 March 2017 at the Jurys Inn Hotel in Milton Keynes.

Future Women MPs weekend is an intensive residential training weekend for any aspiring female MPs within the party; whether you are already an approved candidate or are yet to take that initial first step, this is the perfect way to kick start your journey to Westminster. Jo Swinson, Tessa Munt and Jenny Willott all started their successful quests for a seat in Parliament at a FWMPs Weekend, and so could you!

As well as expert advice on your political career you will also receive:

  • Information and advice on all aspects of the process from selection to standing for Parliament
  • Personalised advice and guidance from top party trainers and representatives
  • A chance to ask any burning questions and address any concerns you may have
  • A fantastic opportunity to network and make useful contacts with other aspiring women within the party
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January Training for Trainers – book your place now!

The Diversity Team is delighted to announce that it will be organising a two-day Training for Trainers Course, from Saturday 7 – Sunday 8 January 2017 in London at Lib Dem HQ.  The course is designed to accredit new trainers who can deliver training courses on behalf of the party.

This course is part of our ongoing effort to increase the amount of diversity training (ethnic minority, gender balance and unconscious bias) available within the party, therefore priority will be given to those we who can demonstrate a commitment to diversity training.

The course will cover a range of essential skills including:

  • How to develop your presentation skills
  • How to deliver effective presentations
  • How to design engaging training material
  • How to give and receive feedback
  • Understanding how different people learn and absorb new information
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Two ways we are addressing diversity

If there is one thing that we can all agree on is the need to encourage a greater degree of diversity within the party. Although our figures on diversity are far from where we want them to be, it is clear that we have begun to make some considerable strides towards adequately addressing this issue. There is an increasing recognition that if we are to herald ourselves as the defenders of equality and tolerance, then those values should be reflected within every aspect of our party. An important step towards this goal was the passing of two diversity and equality motions at Autumn Conference this year on Combatting Racism and Diversity Quotas, put forward by Pauline Pearce and Dawn Barnes respectively.

Summaries of both motions are outlined below:

Conference Motion Diversity Quotas

The motion has been put in place to increase the representation of those with protected characteristics on federal committees and bodies. The party will endeavor to ensure that:

  1. 40 % of those elected to a federal committee identify as men or non-binary, women or non-binary
  2. 10% shall be from minority backgrounds
  3. 10% shall be people from under-represented sexual orientations and gender identities including non-binary identities

Places on these bodies will be filled if the diversity requirements cannot be met or if an insufficient number of candidates with the required characteristic are nominated.

Both men and women will have an equal opportunity of participating at every level of the party in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, however the Act maybe amended to permit positive action to ensure that those from underrepresented groups are adequately represented within internal party bodies.

The full text of the motion is available here.

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Building more diverse council groups

I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook and heard questions at Lib Dem socials about how to recruit more women and diverse candidates for council elections. There seems to be a real willingness to do it but not always a clear idea of how. Here are my three top tips – I’d be interested in what others have done.

  1. SET TARGETS. Look at the demographics of your area and propose that your local party Exec or campaign team buy into the idea of taking some action and agreeing targets. You could decide that 50% of target council seats will be held by women; and/or 50% of all council seats. You can adopt targets for BAME /LGBT+ and people with disabilities too. Telling potential council candidates that you are taking positive steps to better reflect the local community you want to serve is a very strong recruitment message.
  2. TARGETED RECRUITMENT. Filter your ‘strong Lib Dem’ data on Connect by gender, and approach the women on the list first – of course you need to have a conversation to check that they really do ‘live our values.’ Look at the local residents’ associations, Parish Councillors, and residents who are vocal on local Facebook forums etc, and those who are involved in civic campaigns that overlap with our values (for example local Amnesty groups, Transition Towns etc), identify the people you know to be from under-represented groups and cross-check them with your canvass data, or go and canvass them.
  3. DON’T PUSH FOR AN IMMEDIATE ANSWER. For all sorts of reasons, men are more likely to say ‘yes’ to standing or even put themselves forward without being asked. Statistically, women are more likely to be care-givers (for children and/or ageing parents), and women and people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to be in lower-paid jobs (which can require night-shifts / unusual hours) so unless they immediately rule it out (and by this I mean they say “no way, not a chance, never”), their thinking might jump ahead to ‘how can I fit it all in?’ They are also more likely to want to discuss the idea with friends and family to gauge their reaction too. In short, you may have to ask, then give them a few days to think about it, offer to give them the chance to speak to someone with similar circumstances and agree to give them a follow up call a few days later. Even inviting them out for a ‘taster session’ of door knocking. You’ll need to be prepared to change campaign sessions around their lives. If there’s no-one in your area with similar circumstances, you can post on here and I expect someone will volunteer to speak to them.

It does require more effort but consider it an investment of time that will help you find under-used talent. I’ve been part of a team that has done this and just this year we found two brilliant new by-election candidates who gave it everything.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

It was time to fight for liberal values

Helen Belcher 2I joined the Liberal Democrats a couple of weeks after the 2015 General Election. David Cameron’s awful statement on human rights was the final straw. For a peacetime Prime Minister to threaten innocent people by saying “for too long we have been a permissively tolerant society, saying to our citizens that, as long as you stay within the law, we will leave you alone” – well, quite frankly, that was extraordinary. It made me realise that it was no longer enough to passively support liberal values, but that it was time to fight to protect them.

The last year has been a whirlwind of activity. Balancing family life, running a growing company, campaigning and learning some of the political ropes has been exhilarating, although difficult to manage at times. After a couple of speeches at the Bournemouth conference, and a very close result in a town council by-election which seemed to come out of nowhere, I was persuaded to apply to join the list of approved parliamentary candidates. That session Ben Sims wrote about, I also attended, as did Thornbury and Yate PPC, Claire Young.

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments
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