Pramod Subbaraman, Edinburgh South Lib Dem candidate talks about need for greater diversity in politics

Edinburgh South’s Liberal Democrat candidate Pramod Subbaraman has given an interview to the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights blog. He talks about his background:

I was born and raised in Southern India and moved to the UK in 2005 at the age of 28. I moved at that time as I was invited by the Department of Health to help fill the shortage of dentists in the English NHS. It was not an easy ride as there were a lot of hurdles erected for immigrants from outside the EU and that did take its toll, but I jumped over those hurdles, occasionally knocking a few and had to start again in places. I started working in England and then moved to Scotland in 2013. I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and am now the candidate for the General Election to represent the people of Edinburgh South\

He talks about the need for more diversity in politics:

Politicians and the Electorate always seem to find reasons and excuses and keep on selecting and electing white men from political backgrounds and political jobs to parliament. It just does not make sense. Just as the most successful businesses are those that reflect the diversity of their target populations in their workforces and on their boards, so too should politics be! But it isn’t and I am part of the solution to that problem. I would represent the large Visible minorities as well as present one face for diversity in my party which in parliament is the least diverse of parties.

When asked about problems facing minorities in his constituency, he goes reassuringly off-message:

 The restrictions on spouse visas: it is just inhuman to tell a British citizen or permanent resident that they cannot bring their overseas spouse to live with them in the UK just because they have limited means. I would fight to get the financial requirement removed from such cases. There is also a stringent language requirement which I agree with in principle, but I would like to see better language learning facilities provided by British embassies and councils in those countries from where a British citizen would like to bring their spouse.

And he certainly does not spare the party in his criticism of the lack of diversity in politics.

It would help if they had a minority MP elected first! As anything else will only be talk!  I have told my party that they are good at talking the talk but they must also walk the walk.

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  • ” but I would like to see better language learning facilities provided by British embassies and councils in those countries from where a British citizen would like to bring their spouse.”

    Why? in most countries English is taught in the local schools. And in many there are many making a living delivering TEFL courses. To learn Japanese, I didn’t go to the embassy, I went to my local college and attended a course, what is the problem?

  • Roland
    So you are going to take a language test and become a Japanese citizen. Good luck!

  • Roland
    It depends on which country a person is in. The British Embassy in Burma did provide language lessons once because of the isolation of that country when it closed itself off from the rest of the world. I believe the North Koreans approach the British Embassy in Pyongyang for English teachers.

  • Jonathan Brown 17th Apr '15 - 1:33am

    Very well said Pramod.

    It would reflect very well on us for you to be the first (or joint first of many!) BAME Lib Dem MPs!

  • Manfarang

    I think “Good luck” is an understatement 🙂 I’m not aware that foreigners can gain Japanese citizenship, also if memory serves me correctly, the children born post war to Japanese mothers and foreign servicemen fathers have a rather odd citizen status. However, with working in Japan there is a language expectation, as there is in France, that I made the effort to learn the language, however neither of these countries embassies directly provide language lessons, something I do not find unreasonable, hence my query.

    Your second point, to me, gives the correct role of the embassy, namely, to facilitate in the provision of English language services within the host country and only in exceptional circumstances (eg. Burma) provide them directly.

  • R Uduwerage-Perera 1st May '15 - 4:42pm

    Dear Colleagues,

    EMLD supports the thoughts of Jonathan Brown and as such it will be assisting Pramod in his endeavours.

    EMLD members are out and about across the country assisting candidates, and I have drawn the fortunate task to join Pramod in Scotland for Election Day. I am though still wondering whether to wear my kilt on the big day, but I am not sure how the residents of Edinburgh South will cope with a Sri Lanka British Jew in a Sutherland kilt (my beloveds clan).

    Post-election EMLD will be commencing the task to get as many BME members as possible to stand and be elected in the 2016 Elections in Scotland, Wales and London. If our Party cannot put forward a credible selection of BME candidates in the most diverse city on the planet, then we as a Party have a severe problem.

    Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera
    Vice Chair – Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats.

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