Author Archives: Marisha Ray

How do we each make 2017 a better year for race equality in the UK?

2016 has been one of the worst years for race equality which I have lived through in the UK. It is quite frankly a stain on our country’s record which every liberal, whether a member of the Liberal Democrats or not, would not wish to see repeated ever.

It is up to us to create a better future, up to each of us personally. We need our political parties to be fit for purpose for race equality campaigners of all backgrounds. Imagine my surprise when I read Roy Lilley’s words below on the NHS (in an email from and saw how well they apply to our party and increasing the involvement of a wider range of people in politics.

As we nudge our way out of what, by any standards, has not been the health and care services’ finest year, there’s some stuff we would do well to leave behind.

The first is a word.

The ugliest word in the NHS lexicon… ‘engagement’. I don’t want to ‘engage’ with people, do you? I want to talk to them. Better still; listen to them. I want to hear their views, have a conversation, ask what they think.

Engage is what gear boxes do, to drive an engine and what old telephones sound like when someone else is talking. People who are interested in other people’s ideas don’t ‘engage’. They have a chat.

If they have something to explain, clarify, demonstrate, make a case for… they do it, face to face, eyeball to eyeball. Politely, with passion and purpose.

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During Black History Month, take some time to learn from the injustices of the past

I first realised that people from different ethnic groups could have very different attitudes to the same death, the same violent deaths- the same killings, when I went to see the film Gandhi for the third time in the cinema at the age of 14. It is something David Cameron would do well to remember.

I first went to a glitzy showing of the film in Leicester Square, London with my whole family, including my aunt and uncle who had come over from India, where some of the people involved with the film had met them at their home in Delhi while it was being made; then with a school friend to see it at Marble Arch, London and finally with cousins and friends in Calcutta. (The owner of the petrol station in Southern Avenue had over a dozen tickets spare and gave them to our uncle- our great favourite, my father’s youngest brother, and I was part of a big group.)

Watching General Dyer, in the film, order the troops to turn their guns on the crowds of unarmed people, children, women and men in Amritsar, and to start the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was an entirely different experience in Gariahat, Calcutta to that in either Leicester Square or Marble Arch. There was a sharp intake of breathe in the audience, a feeling that the general had ordered that he turn his guns on us, us personally and then complete dismay. Where in London it was one more scene of violence in one more film, in Gariahat, Calcutta it was something taken personally. My own reaction to the scene and its horror was entirely different in Calcutta and London. In Calcutta the scene was one of pure evil, and in London there was no reaction, no sound and it was just a film.

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Opinion: Be ambitious for London – end child poverty, improve child wellbeing


While you know London has a booming economy, and is a centre of job and wealth creation, the largest city of one of the world’s largest economies, you may be less aware of the issue of child poverty; it is also a city where significant numbers (over six hundred thousand children, around two fifths of the total) grow up in poverty.

As a political party we need to continue to become more well known for committing to improving children’s lives in our capital and I believe that by drawing attention to this issue we will improve life for all. The present situation has developed, persisted and augmented on the watch of successive London Mayors, whether Labour, Conservative or sometime independent. As a matter of strategic importance to London, there is no question that the issue is the responsibility of the Mayor.

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Opinion: Just remember we’re all human

antony Gormley statue by kungfugenWhen young adults, who may even at the time have been members of prestigious universities and their more infamous clubs, became intoxicated and indulged in aggressive or loud and disturbing speech, violent actions or were simply careless and destructive, did we automatically assume that when they matured they would behave that way for the rest of their lives? We did not. Indeed some may still be thought fit to take part in the running of our country.

When young adults or older youths indulge in isolated incidents of unwise pyromania, do we say that they will be pyromaniacs for life? We do not, and in general they are not.

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Opinion: Who’s phoning who? (with apologies to Aretha Franklin)

A year ago I heard that six degrees of separation are now down to four courtesy of the internet and social media. Some, if not most, in politics are “connectors”, people who know many and who like introducing them to each other, who make friends fast, keep them for life and remember all about them; that’s not just true of politics, but of successful people in most walks of life.

Will there be any point in let’s say 12 years time, in keeping information on who has been in touch with whom during the previous year? I choose 12 to match …

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