Author Archives: Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera

Liberal Democrats must demonstrate our “BaME consciousness”

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Sadiq Khan as the Mayor candidate will enthuse many BaME voters who had previously been members or supporters of Labour to return, but not alone, but with their friends and families.

Visible BaME communities are not impressed, in fact they are turned off, by the ‘tit for tat’ inter-political squabbling, so I very much hope that our Party does not participate in such trivia against Jeremy Corbyn and his new team.  They are if anything a new ally against Toryism.

The Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) is here to continue to assist the Liberal Democrat Party to positively reform and progress, and we are hopeful that under Tim Farron’s leadership our repeated offers of support will now be firmly grabbed with both hands.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 33 Comments

Opinion: The Highlander who won our hearts, and will never be forgotten!

Together with Liberal Democrat family and wider world of politics and beyond, my brothers and sisters and I within the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) am deeply saddened by the untimely death of Charles Kennedy, and wish to send our heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends.

His brave stance on Iraq has rightly been the subject of much eulogising, and for many members of the EMLD this was the motivation to join our Party in the first place.

It may not have been planned but the impact of Iraq has had a profound effect on Black, Asian and minority ethnic politics in Britain.

Labour lost a hefty proportion of support, especially from Muslim communities, mostly to the Lib Dems, and Labour’s assumed hegemony over the BAME vote was irreparably damaged.

Charles almost certainly did not consider these consequences when opting to do what was simply for him, the right thing to do, and oppose the war in Iraq, but pretty soon afterwards saw that courting diverse Britain was a key part of his plan to make the Party the conscience of, and rooted firmly in the centre left of politics.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 5 Comments

Opinion: Conference – elitist drinking club or democratic decision-making?

BeerI find myself reflecting on Chief Whip Alistair Charmichael’s quip suggesting that the real business of Conference is done, carousing late into the night, in the bars and hotels of Glasgow.

In the mean time I have been standing on the town hall steps, speaking with constituents and pondering how such an aspiring egalitarian Party concentrates power and decision making into two exclusive weeks each year that leave the majority of the Party disempowered and without any voice.  During the other 50 weeks of the year we have a plethora of committees, sub-committees, special interest groups, local, federal and membership involvement to the nth degree.  All this ends as soon as soon as Conference begins.

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Tagged and | 66 Comments

Opinion: Ten reasons why the bedroom tax must go

The conference amendments can only be an expedient stop-gap to complete repeal. Here are ten reasons why the bedroom tax (also known as the spare room subsidy) should go.

1. Bedroom Tax is targeted to victimise the most vulnerable members of society. Two thirds of the victims of Bedroom Tax were receiving Incapacity Benefit: over 440,000 nationally.

2. An extra bedroom is not an extravagance if you need additional space for medical equipment, a room for carers to sleep in or live in a household where an ill person is too unwell to sleep in the same room as their partner and to do so would negatively affect the health and wellbeing of both.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 48 Comments

Opinion: Can anyone explain the Lib Dem obsession with potholes?

Ruwan pot holingI read August’s AdLib today with much dismay. I wonder how many of us have found ourselves squatting beside a hole in the road, posing for a photograph, and subsequently pondered on why we weren’t voted in?

I completely understand the rationale of acknowledging local priorities and the important safety considerations of potholed roads, but are we getting our priorities right when we establish major campaigns over such mind-numbing issues?

Surely the focus on these little concerns, at the expense of far more important and life-altering policies, only diminishes LibDems in the perceptions of potential voters?

Do we really want to be viewed as pettifogging obsessives about the depth of tarmac when essential services such as schools, health, housing and social care are under threat?

Although I am repeatedly advised by the pundits and pollsters “This is what the focus groups are talking about” I do not find that this is the first concern on the electorate’s lips when we talk on the doorstep. Voters want to know about drops in local education standards, the lack of public transport to enable rural employment and, increasingly, the loathed bedroom tax.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 49 Comments
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