Tag Archives: emld

Announcing the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality

Saturday 9th June is the day when a new campaign to end racial disadvantage within the Party begins. It will replace Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats and operate as the Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality.

This move has been inspired to some extent by the work done by Lord John Alderdice which states starkly that the Party has so far failed to properly ensure that it is representative of all the racial groups in our country. The new name demonstrates a new sense of purpose and direction and gives a clear indication that the organisation welcomes membership from everyone in the party who recognises that more needs to be done to enable the party to reflect the diversity of our communities at every level.

For those of us – and there are many in the party – who have spent decades campaigning against racism, it is shocking to comprehend that what we are still fighting to achieve, in the year 2018, is genuine equal opportunity and integration.

As the Alderdice Report points out, there is much to be done at every level in the party to make the organisation more inclusive and bring in a diverse new generation of activists. Tomorrow’s leadership is created from today’s new recruits and so we intend to create a positive plan to assist local parties in diverse areas to reach out to communities that are currently under-represented. We will be keen to talk to successful, integrated local parties to distil their experience.

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Lib Dem Leadership: Farron and Lamb in diversity hustings

Diversity Hustings GlasgowIn a normal election, hustings can be a great place to spot key differences between candidates and find where they stand on various areas of policy. Internally, however, there’s often a lot of overlap between the candidates’ values and hustings can become a little ‘same old, same old’. For this reason, Scottish Lib Dem Women teamed up with Ethnic Minorities Liberal Democrats, Liberal Youth Scotland, and LGBT+ to organise an event in Scotland that wasn’t about policy but was about one specific area instead: diversity, both within and outwith the party.

This is a topic seen far too often as a fringe issue or a minor problem, so it was great to have a full two-hour discussion that allowed us to touch on a great number of areas under the umbrella of diversity. There was a lot of interest in the event so we streamed it online and also took questions through Google Hangouts, Facebook, and Twitter.

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EMLD Hustings tomorrow

tim farron norman lamb squarish by paul walterIf you haven’t been able to get to a Leadership Hustings so far, there is an additional one to consider tomorrow in London.

Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats will be holding one on Tuesday 30th June from 7pm at Elephant and Castle.

The theme will be Tackling Race Inequality. Places are free, but limited, so you do need to reserve a place. Full details given on the website.

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Launch of EMLD Achievement Awards

It was an idea hatched on a train journey a few months ago whilst travelling with colleagues to an EMLD executive meeting. At our Annual General Meeting last month the hosting of the “EMLD Achievement Awards” as a way of recognising and rewarding those who have fought for and championed race equality in the UK received the approval and endorsement of our members.

There is currently a Federal Party award, the “Dadabhai Naraoji Award”, given to the local party that is the most successful in its outreach to the BAME communities but it was felt that EMLD as an organisation would …

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Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats: a year of achievement

cropped EMLD logoI was delighted to be re-elected Chair of Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) at the AGM last Saturday, 25th November.

2013 has been a year of considerable achievement, not least a very well-attended race equality conference in partnership with the Social Liberal Forum  which was launched by the business secretary Vince Cable.

EMLD were also successful in changing party policy on education and employment when our motion endorsing the Race Equality Taskforce report was unanimously approved at federal conference in Glasgow.

We were instrumental in preserving the “general duty” part of the …

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EMLD to discuss how party can better appeal to BAME communities

cropped EMLD logoThis Saturday, 23rd November, Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) will hold their Annual General Meeting. Speakers include Simon Woolley from Operation Black Vote and Tim Snowball, the Party’s director of communications.

Discussion will address how Lib Dems can better appeal to BAME communities. It promises to be a great debate, come along! All are welcome. You don’t have to be an EMLD member to attend but please bring your party membership card. Refreshments will be provided.

The event will be at 11.30am at Lib Dem HQ, 8-10 Great George Street, Westminster, SW1P 3AE.

We have just published our annual review which is also available here.

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Equalities – how the ‘General Duty’ was saved

It was fitting that, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Stephen Lawrence, the government decided to listen to campaigners and save a key element of our equalities laws.

Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) played a leading role in the campaign to save Section 3 of the 2006 Equality Act which provides a vision and mission statement for Britain’s equality watchdog.

This is known as the ‘general duty’ and both informs the work of the watchdog – the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – which itself is responsible for setting the standard for the rest of our public services.

That is …

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Ethnic Minorities Liberal Democrats react to Nick Clegg’s immigration speech

Reaction to Nick Clegg’s immigration speech  shows just how much our party values the cultural and economic contribution migration makes to Britain.

In fairness, Nick did say some positive things but the idea of bonds, thought to be for £1,000, on visitors from ‘high risk’ countries was inevitably going to write ‘tough-on-migrants’ headlines in the media.

No one wants overseas visitors to disappear into the unofficial economy or exploited by unscrupulous criminals, but we have a whole apparatus to deal with that already.

The Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats welcome Nick’s desire to double fines for employing illegal workers, but our membership and BAME …

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Opinion: the Government’s new integration strategy – when are we going to learn?

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) recently published and launched its new integration strategy – “Creating the Conditions for Integration”. Following discussions with many concerned Lib Dem party members and feedback from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community organisations involved in race equality work, I am now more convinced than ever that this document does little to address the persistent racial inequalities that exist across the nation. The Government for their part are trumpeting this publication as equivalent to a race equality strategy – although one which has diminishing credibility within BAME communities up and down the …

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Opinion: Its time for a well informed response on Diversity

Conference is almost upon us once again, and glancing my eye over the agenda I am pleased to see a motion based on Baroness Sal Brinton’s report on party diversity.

You may remember this came up at the last conference. The speech I made at Liverpool was my maiden at a federal conference; the amendment I co-sponsored helped pave the way for the motion on improving diversity we will debate this coming Saturday.

It was also one of the most depressing experiences I’ve witnessed as a party member. Friends who supported the amendment were treated appallingly by supporters of the motion. I …

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Opinion: The last chance saloon on diversity?

I went to conference expecting something entirely different, perhaps influenced by the daily articles and news reports, that this conference was going to be like no other. That there was much unrest, and even anger amongst the Party’s ranks. Instead I found myself amongst many Lib Dem party members and friends who were upbeat and positive.

I didn’t speak to anyone – nor as far as I can gather did the media – who was vehemently opposed to the Coalition Government. Yes, this conference was like no other. It was the largest conference we’ve ever had, and our Leader is …

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Opinion: The Defection Spiral

It’s a case of déjà-vu all over again. The defections of Chamali and Chandila Fernando seem to have produced carbon copy internal debates to the ones that greeted Norsheen Bhatti and Sajjad Karim’s walkouts.

As a party we really need to start learning some lessons from these regular blows because I, for one, am tired and frankly quite bored of witnessing the same depressing spiral of losing bright young BAME talent followed by a debate more notable for its heat than light, as the membership lob brickbats at the defectors.

All too often there is precious little by way of actual solutions to improve racial diversity in the party, but no shortage of insults. Arrogant, selfish and over-ambitious individuals who saw advancement in the party as their entitlement… good riddance to these jumped-up scumbags, I hear you say. Over and over again.

The trouble is, once we’ve stopped furiously kicking up sand there is virtually no energy left to tackle perhaps the biggest elephant in the room – our failure to look like a diverse party. Having made significant in-road in the inner cities, the lack of visible diversity is one crucial blockage we must clear in order to surge into Labour’s ‘territory’, where they have taken black and Asian votes for granted for so long.

Given the virtual collapse of Labour, I suspect if we had got serious about diversity earlier, then by now the whole party would be feeling the benefits of BAME communities supporting us in greater numbers. Let’s not forget a borough-by-borough breakdown of the European Elections in the capital seemed to indicate that neighbourhoods with the highest BAME populations continued to be wedded to Labour, despite everything.

Proportionally, BAME communities appear to be the last section of the electorate still prepared to vote Labour in any numbers, even though most indicators of race inequality have hardly improved over the past 13 years.

The sad fact is that we Lib Dems are still failing to convince enough black and Asian people that we are a diverse party which understands the multicultural society they are part of. This is especially true in the large chunks of London where we do not have a major local presence.

Polling by Operation Black Vote has shown just how highly BAME voters rate the issue of ‘Black political representation’ as a reason to support one party over another. If we are to properly respond to this we need to challenge gut instincts that reject ‘putting people in boxes’ or fret about a ‘silo’ approach, because the desire of people from ethnic minorities to be treated equally, and not to be pigeon-holed, is just one side of the coin.

Most of the same ethnic minorities also agree that institutional racism and unequal racial outcomes need to be challenged and, like it or not, this process requires us to see colour and analyse why discrimination happens on different levels. Quite often that means targeting BAME communities, where they are under-represented, or altering structures when attitudes of officials (or party members) are not changing fast enough.

After Bhatti’s defection I wrote on the Lib Dem Voice Members’ Forum that we cannot afford to sit back and wait for the next defection. Action not recrimination was the order of the day. This is exactly what Nick Clegg and Chris Fox, working with Ethnic Minority Lib Dems (EMLD), led by Meral Eçe, have been doing. The New Generation, launched earlier this month, aims to provide personal development and media training for BAME candidates. We also have a good diversity officer in Issan Ghazni.

After years of token moves and good intentions that don’t deliver, finally under the current leadership we have something approaching a solid programme. I am excited that this initiative is heading in the right direction, but even this is only half the battle. The other half is the party at large demonstrating a passion to provide BAME members with the same support and encouragement that is available to white young members born into Liberal households, for example.

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Recent Comments

  • David Le Grice
    Why the hell do we only get two questions? We got more than half the seats and votes that the Tories got, if they get a whopping six then we should get at least...
  • Peter Davies
    @Paul Yes. Most organised areas do tallying....
  • Peter Davies
    "even in London we have no councillors (and so no councillor tithes) in 19 of the 32 Boroughs" it's not really 'even'. London Boroughs have the highest proporti...
  • Paul Culloty
    Is there much tradition of "tallying" in UK constituencies - generally, when an Irish GE or local election occurs, the boxes in the constituency (each one accou...
  • Ruth Bright
    Are there rules on hugs at polling stations? On "my" polling station in East Hants hugged a nun who taught me 40 years ago, a friend whose daughter's graduat...