Author Archives: Anita Prabhakar

Politicians need to do bit more to change the attitude of society towards disability

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Disability is something which is not by choice but by accident or misfortune, as all of us want to be healthy and lead a perfect life. But sometimes we are the victim of time and circumstances, and we must lead the kind of life due to our disability that we never imagined.

We all should be sensitive about this subject and eager to collaborate and do something in this field, as we all experience this issue in our lifetime either ourselves after certain age, or through our loved ones. But unfortunately, when we are young and healthy, we are so engrossed in our day-to-day routine that we hardly pay enough attention about the attitude of society towards disability or the government’s disability inclusion policy, whether effective or not. We only awake when we suffer ourselves, or our loved one in our family gets affected by disability.

There are so many unconscious barriers of our society which deny people with disabilities the opportunities to achieve their dreams – dream to go beneath the ocean, or to fly.  And with our little effort we can help them to achieve those dreams though it might take bit longer, but I am sure it is not something which is impossible. And there are many people in our society who have proved that their disability does not hold them back to achieve their dreams, whether it is to contribute to society or to enrich this planet, or in other ways.

Most of us are aware of the barriers which limit the inclusion of people with disabilities in the mainstream. But somehow we don’t’ pay enough attention to remove or improve them. For example, attitudinal barriers, the society’s attitude towards disabled people, this one is the biggest obstacle to providing equal opportunities to disabled people and to remove this barrier we need to change our outlook as we, and we only, can help to eliminate this barrier. Environmental barriers, such as inaccessible buildings, also restrict people with disabilities to participate in mainstream society. Further, institutional barriers, like many policies, strategies and laws, are also a hindrance for which we all must work together to raise awareness and force the government to do something.

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A view from a member of the Vice President’s advisory team

The Vice President, Isabelle Parasram, and her advisory team meet on Zoom recently

We all know that there is no better Party in this country than the Liberal Democrats. That is the reason that we all have joined this Party and why we are still here.
And believe me, even the people of this country are aware of this fact.

But the problem is that we are almost too good. We don’t lie. Our leaders don’t believe in false promises. We strongly believe in human rights. We believe that each and every citizen of this country, no matter what colour or background they are from, deserves the best life possible. And that is the problem. We think that, because we are good and our policies and manifesto are outstanding, people will vote for us.

But it does not matter how much you like someone, or care about them – you must approach them and express your feelings if you want them to know that. And that is what we Lib Dems need to do.

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Reflections on Black History Month

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The month of October in the UK is celebrated as Black History Month (BHM), which I must admit, I was not aware of till couple of weeks back. So, when I read about it, I thought ‘why not to write few lines for the people like me who may have not paid much attention to BHM?’

Black History Month is celebrated to recognise the struggle of black people for equal rights and civil justice. This celebration of BHM is for achievements to the contribution of black people, who, despite so much hardship, strive to contribute to humanity in every way.

Today during the pandemic, when we visit either the hospital or the care home, we see people from the black community, along with others, working tirelessly to save lives.

To tell you the truth sometimes when you read the history you find it so difficult to believe that any community has had to struggle so much for equal rights, a right which should be part and parcel of every human at the time of birth.

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Liberal Democrats must engage with ethnic minority communities

Why are Liberal Democrats, despite having the ultimate political ideology, unable to achieve targeted success in the General Elections?

Of course, there are many factors why we did not achieve desirable results – as we have seen recently in our 2019 Election Review.

But here I am going to pinpoint only one issue which, as a party, we have ignored repeatedly. And I learned this from successful candidates from the two big parties at the last three general elections in 2015, 2017 and 2019, when this was a strategy to reach ethnic minorities. As I am a multilingual person and can speak, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali and Urdu, it was easy for me to interact with the voters, from ethnic minority backgrounds. And what I noticed was that in a few places, when I was trying to campaign and introduce myself to the BAME voters, so many times I was told that they would have loved to vote for me, but that their votes were already committed to another party’s candidate, because the candidate had been a regular visitor to their community events. And sometimes, though this was not during election campaign, I myself noticed the presence of Conservative or Labour party candidates or well-known party members.

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