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Liberal Democrats must demonstrate our “BaME consciousness”

September 12, 2015 5:55 PM
By Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera in Liberal Democrat Voice
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader and Sadiq Khan as the Mayor candidate will enthuse many BaME voters who had previously been members or supporters of Labour to return, but not alone, but with their friends and families.

Visible BaME communities are not impressed, in fact they are turned off, by the 'tit for tat' inter-political squabbling, so I very much hope that our Party does not participate in such trivia against Jeremy Corbyn and his new team. They are if anything a new ally against Toryism.

The Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats (EMLD) is here to continue to assist the Liberal Democrat Party to positively reform and progress, and we are hopeful that under Tim Farron's leadership our repeated offers of support will now be firmly grabbed with both hands.

Our Party I would suggest would benefit from starting to demonstrate its 'BaME Consciousness" if we are to thwart,what I suspect may end up being a tidal wave of new support from visible BaME communities, who previously felt marginalised by Labour since the early days of Blairism.

We have the advantage, which is unfortunately shared with Labour, of the London Mayor and Assembly Elections in 2016, plus the Welsh and Scottish national elections, where we could lay down exactly what we intend to do for BaME communities to aspire and succeed if they so choose, whilst lifting all communities out of the clutches of austerity and deprivation.

Let us together move beyond the laudable rhetoric of liberal principles and explain how these principles can become meaningful actions that enhance peoples lives, for BaME communities are no different than others communities who respect actions over words, unfortunately though BaME communities have been fed far too many hollow promises for them to have total trust in the words of politicians alone.

Let EMLD assist the Party without the unfortunate, but sadly the usual suspicion that it faces, for it is only when BaME communities hear and see politicians and leaders whom they have a bond with (through words and deeds) that they will believe that our Party is 'walking the talk'. Recovery is a long process, but confidence can be won back through genuinely positive deeds.

Together with EMLD, I look forward to assisting our Party to become the genuinely progressive social liberal alternative that this country so desperately needs. The alternative to change, is frankly too depressing to even discuss at this point.

* Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera is Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats.

Read more by Ruwan Uduwerage-Perera or more about ethnic minorities liberal democrat or jeremy corbyn