Team London: selections open

Applications are now invited from potential LibDem Mayoral and Assembly (GLA) list candidates for London, which will hold its next round of city-wide elections in 2012. Interested individuals can request an application pack from the Returning Office, Patrick Mitchell, at [email protected] or 6 Palfrey Place, London SW8 1PA. Completed applications must be received by 24 September.

London has benefited from a big influx of new members over recent months – by far the biggest growth of any UK region. Moreover, London Liberal Democrats have moved campaigning and capacity up several notches with the launch of Team London, a new approach to dealing with the challenges of politics in this vibrant, diverse capital city.

At one level, this means more effective targeting of human resources from across London at winnable local by-elections, such as the current Earl’s Court ward contest in Kensington & Chelsea. But Team London will also be swinging into action in the Tower Hamlets mayoral election too (polling date 21 October), where we can really help the resurgence of a local party that made a significant advance in May’s general election.

An important aspect of the Team London approach is the recognition that the London Mayoral, GLA list and European elections are all organised city-wide, which means that in those contests every local party – however strong or weak – can be part of a winning team, in the short-term boosting our GLA members up from the current level of three. We are promoting the idea of a Vote Harvest, in which each local party will be challenged to garner targeted numbers of votes in every area.

But Team London is not just about winning elections, important though that is. It is also about sharing best practice across the region and building local parties’ capacity through training, mentoring and other means. It also must involve making London Liberal Democrats more representative of the multicultural city in which we live. About a third of London’s population belongs to ethnic minorities (BME).

Mirroring the Party’s practices relating to gender balance, we have introduced a measure whereby at least one of the top four GLA list candidates must be BME and two in the top six, which should guarantee greater diversity within our excellent GLA team. But we also want to develop a coherent strategy to embrace and engage all the various ethnic and faith communities across London. That will involve building links, training candidates, recruiting new potential candidates and other steps aimed at ensuring greater awareness, participation and relevance, while strengthening the party across London.

Jonathan Fryer is Chair of London Liberal Democrats

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  • What a pity that the London Party have decided to racially discriminate against white candidates. In breach not only of the Party Constitution but the Law.

  • It’s not discrimination – it’s the proportional representation (lol) of BME candidates. Because representing minorities is something the Lib Dems, at least nationally, have a problem with.

  • MattT – that is an interesting take on it, I hadn’t thought of that

  • @Matt T if 4 white people come top then the 4th will be moved down. that’s discrimination – ie they are treated differently because of their race.
    You might argue that this is justified discrimination, but it is still discrimination. and illegal.

  • @chris

    When you say that racial discrimination is ‘actually common sense’ you are agreeing with the apartheid supporters in S Africa and segregationist in the south of the US both of whom could could come up with judtification of racism.
    Could you explain why this isn’t against the law?

  • Chris I have not said you were.I have said that like them you support racial discrimination. You are in fact a racist.

  • Charlie Hamilton 6th Sep '10 - 3:48pm

    I believe passionately in equality, so I’ve grappled with this issue for a while, but I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it is necessary to treat people differently in order to overcome entrenched disadvantage. Members of minorities are routinely discriminated against, and suffer from lack of privilege in all walks of life, including political representation. In order to combat this, and create a truly level playing field, it’s sometimes fair to give certain individuals a bit of a leg-up. Society has become more equal over the past decades, and I hope that in the future there will be no discrimination, positive or negative. But until then we must recognise that, because of pre-existing unfairness, treating people equally doesn’t always mean treating people the same.

  • I’m just about OK with reserved places for BME or female candidates *on a shortlist*, but it would be a mistake to have quotas for the actual seats. Under-representation of minorities can just be a reflection of the small number of candidates willing to stand as a result of not getting involved with grassroots politics earlier in life. We should put more effort into getting minority members involved in local activism and staying involved later on than just giving people an easier ride at selection time.

    Smcg: B+. You need to crowbar the Nazis in as well for the A.

  • All very well having quotas, but why no commitment to ensure equal representation for North and South of the river?

  • More must be done to recruit members of ethnic minorities.More BME members to go to meetings and conference.And in time they will stand for elected office.

  • Jonathan Fryer 8th Sep '10 - 2:55pm

    Yes, Rob, there is a gender balance mechanism too. There must be at least one person of each gender in the top three and two in the top five, as was the case nationally for the LibDem Euro-lists. Personally, I am really proud that London LibDems are leading the way in ensuring that we do move towards getting a more ethnically representative set of elected people. It’s not discrimination, it’s inclusion. We have to be seen to be relevant to a wider cross-section of London’s highly diverse population.

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