Tag Archives: black and ethnic minorities

Everybody included – why democracy and diversity are two sides of the same coin

At a recent event hosted by Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform, I was asked to speak about two topics that I feel very passionately about: democracy and diversity. In terms of democracy, I have been actively involved with the campaign for Proportional Representation for many years because I believe that our current system of First-Past-The-Post means that all votes are not equal: a vote in a marginal seat has a much bigger impact than a vote in a safe seat. In terms of diversity, I believe that we should welcome people from many different backgrounds to the campaign for PR by making an effort to being inclusive and open.

With this in mind, it was great to have an opportunity to be a panel speaker with someone so experienced as Lord Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Constitutional and Political Reform in the House of Lords. Paul has given so much to the campaign for electoral reform, both as an MP and in the House of Lords.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic education report welcomed by Welsh Minister

The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has accepted all the recommendations of a report on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the new school Curriculum.

The Minister has also confirmed £500,000 will be provided to support the implementation of the report’s recommendations, as part of the delivery of the new Curriculum for Wales.

Posted in News and Wales | Also tagged | 2 Comments

Identity and ethnicity, how we come to use and need the different ways which we describe ourselves

You’re about to read about my ethnic or racial identity; it’s personal and I expect it to be treated with respect. If you cannot oblige, please try to stop reading now.

For too many any discussion of identity provokes an immediate authoritarian, polarised reaction and that reaction, that thoughtless, immediate, instinctive response is a part and parcel of the kernel of racism. So, please take this opportunity to watch your own reactions as though they were someone else’s and reflect on your own reactions too, allowing those with a sense of a minority identity a degree of flexibility and control.

For me my earliest ideas of identity formed very early in life and were exciting, something special and to be open about, I was aware by the age of three that I spoke and understood both Bengali – a language without gendered pronouns – and English, with its greater focus on gender. By the time I was four, I described myself as “Bengali”, though born in south west London to a professional, middle class family which lived in north and central London since the late 1920’s, however I am still asked where I am really from. I had at the time never been to Bangladesh or India, but I am a part of my global family and its global identity is Bengali or, in Bengali, Bangali. The language has a surprising amount in common with Russian, both grammar and vocabulary. Our family was from the parts of Bangladesh nearest India, and I was told that 400 years previously had relocated from Rajasthan. The family tree was in the Jagannath Mandir (temple) in Puri, and when I first went there, aged 11, my existence also was recorded. Hindus are prohibited, I was told, from marrying any blood relative who was directly related within seven generations on that tree.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 10 Comments

The Fight for Equality Goes On!

I have been inspired by Paul Walter’s excellent series on this site for Black History Month. If you have as well, I encourage you to write a blog for Black History Month and send it in.

American by birth, I am guilty of unconscious bias which permeated through my upbringing. Many people don’t recognise the racism which lies beneath the surface in the way they relate to one other. Of course overt acts of racism make the news, but it is the little interactions and assumptions which bother me, as they are …

Posted in LDVUSA | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

The new Naoroji Award

Dadabhai Naoroji

I have written here before about the case for community outreach by our Party and cited amongst other statistics results from the Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES) which showed in the 2010 elections: 68% of ethnic minorities had voted Labour, 16% Conservatives and only 14% Liberal Democrats.

To encourage local parties to do more to promote support from diverse communities, we have of course implemented various initiatives. These range from the appointment of a National Diversity Advisor for the Party in Issan Ghazni (2007-2010) and permanent staff …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Opinion: Gorgeous George steals our place on the Left

Well done George Galloway for last week’s Bradford West by-election victory. He was astutely aware of the state of a vacuous Labour party lacking leadership and direction, and took full advantage of it.

Now, no-one can say that a Left-wing party is doomed to automatic failure. And it is little use Lib Dems complaining: “That’s our job.”

It is our job, but we have failed completely. A strong left-wing challenge from us, the true party of the non-socialist Left could have produced a …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliamentary by-elections | Also tagged and | 52 Comments

Why the rise in Air Passenger Duty matters to BME communities up and down the UK

Why the rise in Air Passenger Duty matters to BME communities up and down the UK

‘A wicked tax’ as many members of my friends and family explain to me when I am helping them find tickets ‘going home’ to Jamaica or Grenada.

Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) will be holding a fringe event at Spring Conference looking at the effects of the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD) on BME communities and the economy as a whole. I have real concerns that when the new levy is introduced this April, the party could be seen in a negative light amongst some communities.

APD …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Obama would have been blocked by Labour – what about the Lib Dems?

A former US grassroots campaigner, now working in Manchester, has claimed that Labour is an alienating force in our big cities and Obama would never have made it in the Labour Party.

Gregory Galluzo, the Guardian claimed on Saturday, trained Obama in grassroots politics over a decade ago.

Galluzo is quoted in the Guardian as saying:

In my experience the Labour party in your big cities like Manchester is one of the most alienating forces in Great Britain.

It is a very small group of people that controls the city council and they get voted in because they are Labour, not because of

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Under-representation of BME members in the Lib Dems

As an Asian from a Muslim background, I would first like to state how much I admire the Party’s commitment to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) representation and its concern for equality and a truly just, modern, multicultural society. Thus I am proud to be a member of the Party.

However, as a member of the Lib Dems, I have become aware of an anomalous situation in the Party, which I believe may be potentially discouraging for BME supporters, as well as damaging to the party’s interest in breaking out of its all-too-consistent third-place position.

Take the timely example European Parliament for …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 29 Comments
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