Tag Archives: bame representation

Inaugural meeting of the Race Equality Policy Working Group

On 13 February, eve of Valentine’s Day, members of the Race Equality Policy Working Group met for the first time at LDHQ. I mention Valentine’s Day because this is very much a labour of love for those of us who have volunteered to assist the Party in its policy making on this important subject.

The first meeting was also timely for another reason: it follows the issue last week of Lord Alderdice’s report on Race, Ethnic Minorities and the culture of the Liberal Democrats and an email from our leader, Vince Cable MP, calling on each and every member to …

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Implementing Alderdice’s recommendations will make the Liberal Democrats stronger

Having joined the Liberal Democrats only around 8 weeks ago it was heartening to see that various recommendations & thoughts I expressed to Lord Alderdice in December were included in his comprehensive report. John’s enthusiasm and will to drive change with Baroness Brinton’s vision of change can be felt throughout this report.

For myself personally, it was incredibly positive to see a party that is truly looking to engage with the BAME communities. Having been the Deputy Chairman of the London Conservative Party, stood for Parliament & the GLA for them, I had almost given up hope on political parties wanting to truly engage with the needs of minority communities in the UK. However this report is the beginning of a movement which each and every one of us in our party can be a part of, and we as Liberal Democrats can be the champions of this for years to come. It makes me proud that I left the Conservatives for a party that is progressive and that wants to deal with issues head on and tackle inequality of all kinds. In order to attract the wider BAME communities to the Lib Dems practical tips such as

  • Ensuring that your local party group makes and implements a plan for engaging with race and ethnic minority communities in your area.
  • If you want to bring in young people from communities, don’t expect older community leaders to be the most suitable magnets.
  • Everyone has a contribution to make in engaging BAME communities and individuals at all levels.

have been outlined in the report. These need to be studied and examined within all of our constituency associations in order to truly build on this report and allow for its various facets to be implemented.

In addition to this i was extremely pleased my suggestion to Lord Alderdice in regards to adopting the role of Vice Chairman of the Liberal Democrat Party for BAME Communities – has been included. John understood the necessity of such a role to allow us to connect to communities all over the UK. A Vice Chair for BAME Communities would allow us as a party to engage with grassroots of various communities and give those psrticular communities a particular individual as a port of call for them to engage with. This would enable the diverse communities to build.a rapport with our party via a particular assigned individual. So when communities would like to raise issues, concerns or suggestions they have a particular person they can approach and seek assistance from. In addition, this would also allow our many local diversity champions across the country to work together more coherantly, as the Vice Chair would be someone they can approach to reach out to their various diverse communities locally. It would also assist them to share good practice, such as what is going on in Kingston, Richmond, Twickenham, Tower Hamlets, Haringey, Hackney & Sutton just to mention some. By sharing this good practice via one particular individual you are able to give it structure and allow our diversity champions to feel comfortable and guided in their somewhat current ambiguous & difficult roles.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Still waiting for true diversity

Conference must be congratulated on passing the Diversity motion on Sunday. But contentious issues and some mysteries remain. One is why have we taken 14 years to get round to all-women short-lists for constituency selections, when they became the law of the land in the 2002 Sex Discrimination Act?

In theory, any local party could have operated all-female short-lists at any of the three general elections since then, safe in the knowledge they were legal, passed by Parliament. Had that happened,  the battle for all-BME (now BaME) lists could have begun at least a decade ago.

Perhaps before Parmjit Singth Gill, only our second ethnic minority MP in 120 years, could have been given proper support in the general election of 2005. The party gave the impression of not giving a tuppeny bowel movement about full diversity or wanting BAME MPs. They hung him out to dry, with the self-fulfilling prophesy that he would lose.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments
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