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Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality

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Dr. Mohsin Khan's May Chair Update

May 15, 2021 5:18 PM

Chair Dr. Mohsin Khan ()

Mohsin's May update

Many of us have been involved in helping with the elections this month - and there's been many successes for Lib Dems nationally. For the first time in over a decade the Lib Dems have seen a net gain in councillors nationally, as well as one more council group directly controlled by the Lib Dems, and two more losing power from the Tories. We've seen gains made from Labour in Sunderland, Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley - which shows that the Lib Dems can make clear gains in 'red wall' areas, but also shows the importance of ensuring our policies and messaging works across the country.We've also seen a few gains in BAME representation up and down the country - but there's still more to do!

In the capital, it was fantastic to see Hina Bokhari elected to the London Assembly - the first Lib Dem BAME person to do so, and the first Muslim woman of any party to do so. Hina has been a steadfast campaigner and an excellent voice for a modern, diverse London. LDCRE congratulate Hina Bokhari and look forward to working closely with her and Caroline Pidgeon.

Commiserations to our LDCRE Exec members Chris Annous, Michael Bukola, and Cllr Anton Georgiou who also stood in the London Assembly elections and tirelessly campaigned, as well as to the other Lib Dem candidates in the Assembly elections.

One of the key achievements LDCRE worked on in earlier years was to ensure that there was BAME zipping-up on the London selections to improve racial diversity. LDCRE are continuing to work to expand similar measures for racial diversity into the Party's Westminster selections.

We are also continuing to work to ensure the Party has a clear, properly resourced plan for implementing the outcome of past diversity reviews, leading up to the most recent General Election review. We will be continuing to meet with senior Party leaders to assess what progress has been made and what steps are being taken to continue making much-needed further progress.

As regular readers will know, in April we condemned the Sewell report. Much of the ethos of the report was deeply disturbing - such as the notion that fighting racism is for ethnic minorities to "help themselves" against - it is a fight that is for everyone, and that the Government, organizations and institutions all should have a crucial role to lead in, rather than to pass the buck onto individual people.

While it is crucial to have an intersectional approach to race equality, and to not broad-brush view different groups as the same, that does not mean the faults of racism lie within those groups. It's also important to stand against attempts to separate different groups from one another - divide and conquer approaches have historically been used to fight against race equality.

We've been working to ensure that the flaws of the Sewell report do not colour further work for race equality and to help spread awareness of the flaws of the report.

One of the areas that got significant media attention was on ideas around scrapping BAME and related words. Any changes around this need to ensure that they are desired by the people affected, and also do not breed division and separation between groups. On the back of this, we are organizing a 'think-in' grassroots discussion event around such terminology for members. Think-in are a grassroots event where everyone can chip on their views on what they think, without unnecessary moderation or special speakers. Watch this space for details of when this is.