Author Archives: Rabi Martins

Vice President Election: I will end the BME Deficit says VP Hopeful Rabi Martins

Editor’s Note: Liberal Democrat Voice has invited all six candidates for Vice President to submit an article in support of their candidacy. They are allowed to include two photos and video content. You can find out more details about the candidates and election, including the hustings tonight (Wednesday 8 December), here. Votes must be cast by 12 pm on Friday 10th December. 

This article is by Rabi Martins

I have not taken the decision to seek election as Party Vice President lightly. It is too important a post for that. I realise that Isabelle Parasram has done a great job of raising the profile of Liberal Democrats amongst many BME Communities in England, Scotland and Wales. Yet within the Party BME members struggle to make any significant headway. The new Vice President must redress that balance.  I know it is a challenge I can rise to because, as a member colleague told me “no one has worked as hard or for so long on Race Equality and Diversity Issues within the Party as you have.”

Back in 2001 I persuaded Lord Dholakia to review Diversity and Racial Equality within the Party. Consequently we established the Ethnic Minority Election Task Force which led to the election of our first BME MP since 1892. Soon after EMETF was disbanded and progress has stalled.

So bar that one significant achievement with EMETF and despite concerted efforts by me and several others, Liberal Democrats continue to remain the least BME friendly Political Party in the UK. How a Party that claims to campion a Fair, Open and Equal Society is able to live with that label beats me.  Yet time and time again attempts by internal campaign groups such as EMLD and LDCRE to persuade the leadership to initiate corrective action are met with platitudes and excuses.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 5 Comments

Brexit Trade Deal – threat or opportunity for the Party?

Ed Davey wasted no time in denouncing the trade deal signed by Boris Johnson because it will be “bad for jobs, business, security and our environment“.

This is a view that is not universally shared even though UK businesses trading with the EU will now face a host of new rules, regulations and red tape. Business leaders argue that the alternative – No Deal – would have hurt the UK economy a whole lot more. The biggest relief has been expressed by the car manufacturers for whom an end to tariff-free access to the EU would have been a disaster. As it is tariff-free access to the EU continues. And an added bonus is the fact that they are now free to capitalise on market opportunities in lucrative non-EU markets like China and India.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments

Opinion: Localism is dead – what hope for Local Government ?

Sheffield Town HallThe Localism Act was introduced in November 2011 on a promise of new freedoms and flexibilities for local government, new rights and powers for communities and individuals, and a guarantee to make the planning system more democratic so as to ensure decisions about housing reflect local community wishes. Even the most ardent supporters of this coalition government will be hard pushed to provide evidence that localism has done anything of the sort.

Instead, what we have witnessed in the past four years is a constant reduction of local government budgets …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 31 Comments

Opinion: The other side of the immigration debate coin

There are some things in life that go hand in hand

In the UK it is a General Election and talk of Immigration Controls

In every general election since Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech Labour and the Conservatives have sought to out-do each other on the toughness of their respective policies on immigration Usually the war of words starts at about the same time as the political parties start their election campaign. This time round the battle has already started even though the General Election is some six months away And the reason? The Tories are running scared of UKIP as Nigel Farage sets himself up as the only  gatekeeper who can be trusted to keep immigrants at bay and land election defeat on Conservatives the back of it.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 71 Comments

Opinion: Chase BAME votes or face wipeout

Campaigning on the doorstep - Lynne FeatherstoneI make no apologies for returning to my old hobby horse – the need for our Party to actively do more to actively win over the support of BAME communities.

Not only is this the right thing to do for a Party that projects itself as the Party that champions diversity and equality it is also the politically expedient thing to do.

According to research published by Operation Black Vote (OBV) the outcome of the election results in 168 parliamentary seats in the hands of Britain’s black …

Posted in News | 25 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Merlene Emerson
    Thanks Mark for this tribute. Shocked and saddened by Robert's sudden passing as he was still so alive and full of ideas for new projects. I joined the World Tr...
  • Martin
    Alex Macfie and Nonconformistradical: As I wrote, the underlying voting dynamics in a byelection are not always straightforward, however in general and certa...
  • Peter Davies
    or to put it another way, Labour lost 9773 votes, Tories lost 14583 and we only lost 1366....
  • Nonconformistradical
    @Martin I suggest you go and look at some past results for Chester - it's a long time since we've had a decent result there. See
  • Alex Macfie
    @Martin: We weren't targeting Chester, so what happens to our vote there is not indicative of what might happen in, say, Totnes. As for Sarah Wollaston, she is ...