Ed Davey: We have a duty to fight and extinguish racism

Ed Davey has spoken out on the horrific events in the US. He argues that the sort of structural racism we see in the US is prevalent here too.

The Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality has tweeted this powerful poster which shows that white people have to stand up against racism wherever we find it:

It is worth joining them to learn about how you can support and contribute to their work.

Lib Dem Councillor and race equality adviser Rabina Khan has written an article for the Huffington Post in which she warns that the stress of lockdown  could exacerbate similar tensions here.

In George Floyd’s case, it was evident the behaviour of the police was appalling but as the lockdown gradually eases, the UK’s focus must be on what challenges community policing will inevitably face in a post-lockdown era.

This is a difficult situation as the police also fear for their own lives, particularly when we look to the epidemic of knife crime that continues to plague the UK’s biggest cities. The police are already fearing an explosion of violent crime as rival drug gangs try to re-establish their dominance across London following the lockdown.

There needs to be a meaningful discussion ahead of time about the positive measures that could be taken to reduce the risk of this happening in the future – both in terms of police training and guidelines, and helping and supporting those often black and minority ethnic communities who are most at risk from this type of crime, and being lured into carrying out this type of crime.

A London based friend described to me the other day their experience of being in a park. There were lots of people appearing to gather in groups, but the only people approached by the Police were the two black people there.  Rabina highlights a higher incidence of fines for breach of lockdown amongst black people.

New figures show that Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in England are 54% more likely to be fined than white people under the coronavirus laws, figures reveal. However, interestingly there have been reports that certain groups are struggling to adhere to government guidelines surrounding social distancing, which would therefore be one explanation for the figures. Unsurprising when you look at the correlation between overcrowding and poverty.

The unique cocktail of emotions that this pandemic has stirred up risks tipping us into a more volatile version of normal. How, therefore, can we deal with this without investment into treating violence on both sides of the law?

We all need to listen to our BAME friends and colleagues, who will be dealing with racism on a daily basis. It is vital that we learn from them and make sure that we are aware of and stand up to racism wherever we see it.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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6 Comments

  • Michael Bukola 1st Jun '20 - 12:07am

    As politicos, we should confront but not over promise. You cannot extinguish racism in a free society. There is no vaccine for racism. This is deeply woven into the fabric of western societies. However, we can make life better for people of colour by advocating for an inclusive, multinational, multi-faith society based on liberal values of decency, progress and fairness. If you just take the criminal justice system for instance, the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. One in every 15 people born there today is expected to go to prison. For black men this figure rises to one in 3. Capital Punishment in the US is disproportionately black, too. In the UK, the Lammy review concluded that racial bias in the criminal justice system was apparent. 41% of the entire prison population in the UK are from BAME communities despite making up less than 14% of the UK population as a whole. 46% recidivism rate. Thatcherites accuse us of victimhood.

  • richard underhill 30th Jun '20 - 2:10pm

    The School that tried to end racism is repeated at 01.45 – 02.40 on Wednesday 01 July 2020 on Channel 4
    Worth a look. One 11-year old has white skin, freckles and red hair. See him sharing a joke with a well rounded classmate of the same age and black skin.
    Remember the electoral effect of Charles Kennedy’s speeches about the invasion of Iraq by George W Bush and Tony Blair. Our MPs were all agreed that Charles was right, courageous, and that the invasion was illegal.
    Keir Starmer is not Tony Blair, but does ask him for advice. We should not be afraid that Sir Keir, a lawyer and a democrat, would want to invade Iraq, or Iran, or Russia, or China.

  • richard underhill 30th Jun '20 - 2:24pm

    There is in Northern Ireland a tribal differentiation which is deeply ingrained, so we should do what we can to ameliorate it as part of our friendship with the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland. Personally I like their principled and consistent policies. They can also help us, as David Ford did during the Eastbourne bye – election.
    Channel 4’s program “The School that tried to end racism” depicts a mix of school children aged 11 years. I will record the whole series.
    Kirsty Williams has been on tv recently, the only cabinet member we currently have, in coalition with Labour in Wales. Please listen carefully to what she says on the important issue of education.

  • richard underhill 30th Jun '20 - 2:31pm

    Ian Sanderson (RM3) 1st Jun ’20 – 9:46 In general” is a generalisation and therefore liable to contain individual exceptions. Imagine being an elected politician in Northern Ireland while also an ethnic Chinese woman. APNI of course.

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