London Liberal Democrats announce timetable for GLA/Assembly selections, positive action for BAME candidates

The next known challenges for London Liberal Democrats are the Mayoral and GLA contests in May 2020. These are unique elections in British politics, with nearly nine million people electing one person to lead the City and twenty-five Greater London Assembly members (fourteen elected from constituencies, eleven from a top up list).

Being the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor is a high profile role needing a candidate of the highest calibre and we will have a rigorous process to ensure that our candidate will cope with the scrutiny that the election will bring.

The London Regional Executive places a great importance on making sure our elected representatives reflect London’s diverse population. In the recent London Borough elections we financially supported a number of BAME via our “Avebury Fund” and have agreed that our GLA List candidates will have positive action to ensure that one of the top two, two of the top five and three of the top eight candidates will be BAME.

Selection for our Mayoral and GLA list candidates will start in September, whilst the eleven Constituency candidates will be left until the New Year. Voting will open to all members in London and will be conducted primarily by e-voting. The selection is open to any Liberal Democrat with Parliamentary approval who is qualified to stand for the Greater London Assembly.

This week the Regional Executive appointed a Returning Officer and agreed this timetable – with the count on 23 November in time for the London Region Conference on 24 November. The Region will advertise for the vacancies through the Candidates office and via social media with the aim of providing members the widest possible choice.

The detailed timetable is as follows;

Opening of nominations: Monday 10 September

Close of nominations: Monday 24 September (12 noon)

Completion of Mayoral and GLA List short-listing: Monday 22 October

Completion of notice for appeals: Wednesday 24 October

Publication of short-list: Wednesday 24 October

Despatch of ballot-papers and statements: Wednesday 31 October

Deadline for return of ballots: Wednesday 21 November (12 noon)

Count and declaration: Friday 23 November

London Region Conference: Saturday 24 November

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33 Comments

  • Theo Butt Philip Theo Butt Philip 30th Jul '18 - 1:07pm

    What action is being taken to ensure that those potential candidates who are not yet on the approved list have an opportunity to get approved before the close of nominations?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Jul '18 - 1:47pm

    Isn’t this why our leader wants to open leadership beyond parliament, a premature cumbersome didactic timetable, a candidate for Mayor a year and three quarters away limited to people on an approved list a year and a half earlier?!!!!!!

    No wonder in the US they think and rightly they have an advanced democratic system, they do.

    We need personalities, we have lost Dwayne Brooks who is a recent Tory recruit, what if a leading personality in our party some months ahead thinks it worth standing in the response to political events, in London?

  • What’s the difference between “positive action” and “positive discrimination”?

  • What an appalling and discriminatory way to select candidates.

  • Why is it a bad thing to select a Mayoral candidate who will gave some more time to build their profile and a campaign of the scale needed?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 30th Jul '18 - 7:21pm

    Delighted to see positive action to make sure that our candidates reflect the diversity of London. We can’t be credible if we don’t look like the communities we want to represent. Will Smith the actor said that diversity was a superpower and he was right. If we show that we have changed and become more diverse, our manifesto will reflect that diversity and people will be more motivated to vote for us because we get what they need.

  • Well said Caron.

  • But what is the difference between positive action and positive discrimination?

  • @Caron
    “”””We can’t be credible if we don’t look like the communities we want to represent. “”””

    Does that mean you wouldn’t support a BaME member trying to be selected for a seat which was overwhelmingly Caucasian because such a candidate would “not look like” the constituency they want to represent? I well and truly hope not

  • @James Pugh absolutely.

    We are a meritocracy that eschews divisive identity politics in the Labour mould.

  • James Belchamber 31st Jul '18 - 10:12am

    Very proud to see my party putting our words on diversity into action. To achieve Liberty that’s universal we first need to deal with past injustice – and we need to be brave (and, dare I say it, radical) in tackling them.

  • As an outsider, though understanding that it takes time to build a profile it seems to me that the process could be preventing credible candidates from putting themselves forward. Many people live busy lives and are active in their communities. The process should help and support these people rather than forming obstacles that prevent them from standing.

  • @TCO

    Quite right. Unfortunately far too many Liberal Democrat members deep down would probably prefer to be Labour members

  • @James Belchamber
    “””” To achieve Liberty that’s universal we first need to deal with past injustice””””

    Why should an individual be treated differently from another individual in the present, because of actions committed by other different individuals against other individuals sometime in history?

    “””””– and we need to be brave (and, dare I say it, radical) in tackling them.””””

    This action is indeed radical. Radically racist and anti-liberal. To discriminate against an individual because of the colour of their skin is racist. In the selection of a candidate by a democratic process (that this GLA candidate selection process is), if a candidate achieving the 2nd most number of votes has the “wrong” skin colour, then the democratic wish of the selectorate is overruled and a candidate with the “correct” skin colour but with less number of votes is placed 2nd on list and pushing the candidate with more votes down the list. Racial discrimination pure and simple

  • David Evans 1st Aug '18 - 11:15pm

    James Belchamber, the problem is we haven’t put our words on diversity into action. We haven’t had massive campaigns to persuade many more good BAME citizens with Lib Dem leanings to join the party. And certainly nothing to give them a real chance of actually being elected. If we had, we wouldn’t need quotas.

    All we are doing is fast tracking a few of them to near the top of our internal pecking order. Certainly nothing like enough to demonstrate that we have a real commitment to involving ever more BAME individuals and getting their concerns better represented in the party.

  • We would not stand for quotas by skin colour in any other walk of life; indeed it would be illegal, for very good reason. If we can’t run our party in the way we would want to run the country, we are nothing.

  • James Belchamber 2nd Aug '18 - 9:55am

    Positive action is not racist. This is a reductive idea which ignores the institutional racism that currently exists and judges the policy as if it were enacted in an otherwise perfectly egalitarian world. In reality, to get back to zero, we can’t just send good wishes – we need more diverse leadership now.

    To be proudly colourblind is to be proudly ignorant – institutional racism is a thing and we can’t fix it with well wishes.

  • Peter Watson 2nd Aug '18 - 12:36pm

    “positive action to ensure that one of the top two, two of the top five and three of the top eight candidates will be BAME”
    Shouldn’t that be “at least one of the top two, at least two of the top five and at least three of the top eight”?

  • Peter Watson 2nd Aug '18 - 12:45pm

    As an aside, are there any targets for the list based upon other criteria e.g. gender?
    For a short, ordered list of candidates, the combinations could get quite complicated and risk penalising good candidates that would otherwise improve diversity.

  • @David Raw

    For I change I very much agree with you and would be interested to hear Caron’s answer

  • @James Belchamber

    “”””Positive action is not racist.””””

    1. What’s the difference between positive action and positive discrimination?
    2. I’ve already very clearly outlined how this selection process is radically racist, since it is discriminating against people based on the colour of their skin, which is the dictionary definition of racism

    “”””To be proudly colourblind is to be proudly ignorant “”””

    Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was of a colourblind world “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He was tragically murdered for such views. I notice many people today who call themselves “anti-racist”, espouse appalling racist ideas and would no doubt hate Martin Luther King Jr for his dream of a colour-blind world.

  • James Belchamber 3rd Aug '18 - 5:47pm

    @James Pugh you’re wrong, and since you’re so prolific (1/3 of the comments on this article are from you) I think it’s fair to expect you to fact-check your comments. As a start, King’s dream was never a defence of “colourblindness” as you propose – indeed, racist people often use this term in bad faith (though I’m going to assume you, a fellow Liberal, are not racist) to neuter oppressed people in their attempts to organise and resist oppression:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/martin-luther-king-dream-speech-misunderstand

    Secondly, racism isn’t simply discrimination – rather, it’s discrimination based on the belief that people of different ethnicities are superior/inferior/innately different:

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=racism

    Positive Action (or Positive Discrimination – I’m fine with that term) is discrimination based on the belief that we should correct existing racism (as well as sexism and other prejudices). It’s based on the observation that people of different ethnicities should not be experiencing such wildly unequal outcomes, and a recognition that when these outcomes are caused by institutionalised, structural racism then we need to take action to eradicate it.

  • Jayne Mansfield 3rd Aug '18 - 7:59pm

    @ James Belchamber,
    Your posts warm the cockles of my heart.

    @ James Pugh,
    ‘ Unfortunately far too may many Liberal Democrats deep down would probably prefer to be Labour members’.

    Indeed James, and many have already made that leap.

    If there was a level playing field, there would be no need for positive action. There isn’t. Discrimination , conscious or unconscious holds individuals back. There is so much talent amongst those who don’t have a fair crack of the whip, and it is unjust.

    Are those in currently in positions of power, individuals who have been selected on what you might consider, a ‘ non -racist ‘ system, the best that a meritocracy can throw up? If so, Lord help us.

  • @James Belchamber
    “”””As a start, King’s dream was never a defence of “colourblindness” as you popose

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/martin-luther-king-dream-speech-misunderstand“”””

    Just because a random person expresses an opinion in a comment piece in The Guardian doesn’t make the said opinion fact.

    There have been notable attempts by those advocating “race consciousness” (who are little more than well intentioned racists) to push a revisionist narrative on Martin Luther King Jr to try an get historical approval for their highly regressive race consciousness platform. Anyone who reads the writings and speeches of MLK knows he wanted a colour-blind world.

    Recent history has very clear dividing ideological lines on this subject. On the one side you have progressive, genuinely liberal people like MLK, Nelson Mandela and Maajid Nawaz pushing for colour blindness. On the other side you have regressive ethnic nationalists people like Malcom X, Winnie Mandela, Steve Bannon and Lee Jasper pushing for race consciousness (a primer for divide & rule and further racism). Real liberals are picking the former side and shunning the latter

    Ironically, the historically flawed article you linked also emphatically rejects positive discrimination/action (same thing) and measures like quotas as used for the GLA selection. Funny you can shoot yourself in both feet from linking one article

    “”””Secondly, racism isn’t simply discrimination – rather, it’s discrimination based on the belief that people of different ethnicities are superior/inferior/innately different:””””

    Wrong again am afraid. Racist discrimination does not have to include the belief in racial superiority/inferiority, it only has to include discrimination or prejudice

    “”””Positive Action (or Positive Discrimination – I’m fine with that term) “”””

    Positive discrimination is illegal by the way

    Do you think the variable outcomes are only and entirely down to this nebulous “institutional/structural racism”? Do you have any evidence to support this? Because I am unsure why unevidenced socialist dogma has any role in the discussion here

  • @Jayne Mansfield
    “”””If there was a level playing field, there would be no need for positive action. There isn’t. Discrimination , conscious or unconscious holds individuals back. “”””

    How is there not a level playing field? Do you have evidence to support your case?

  • James Belchamber 9th Aug '18 - 9:40pm

    I’m impressed how someone can describe themselves as a Liberal and at the same time dismiss any evidence that challenges their point of view. Especially about something so easily researched as the definition of racism:

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/racism

    If you want to redefine words to meet your world-view, are you really describing the world? Or just the world inside your head? How many should suffer while you reacquaint the two?

  • @James Belchamber

    And here is my evidence

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racism

    “racial prejudice or discrimination”

    Simple as that.

    If your chosen definition of racism was solely what is used to define racism, then demonstrating racism (individually, legally and institutionally) would become near impossible because one would have to prove the the person behind the alleged racist action had the belief that their race was superior. Proving such things is extremely difficult. Thankfully your chosen definition is not used in practice and the principle definition of racism (prejudice or discrimination based on race) is what is used

  • James Belchamber 16th Aug '18 - 7:25pm

    From your own link:

    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
    2 a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
    b : a political or social system founded on racism
    3 : racial prejudice or discrimination

    Wonder which one applies to politics 🤔

  • jayne mansfield 18th Aug '18 - 8:41pm

    @ James Pugh,
    I am sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

    My answer would be oodles.

    But before spending precious time giving you a list of evidence based reasons why I made my assertion, may I ask you what evidence you have for asserting the opposite position?

  • @James Belchamber
    “”””Wonder which one applies to politics””””

    3 : racial prejudice or discrimination

  • @jayne mansfield

    “”””But before spending precious time giving you a list of evidence based reasons why I made my assertion, may I ask you what evidence you have for asserting the opposite position?””””

    Actually Jayne, you are the one supporting a highly regressive and anti-liberal measure based on your belief the playing field is not level. The onus is therefore on you to provide evidence to support your point of view and proposed action

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