Vince Cable: Keep your promise!


It was one of the largest rallies of the 2010 General Election race. The polls were unclear as to who would win and the political heavyweights were out in force to get every vote.

Black voters were demanding more than just platitudes from the political elite. Deputy Labour Party Leader Harriet Harman was given a rough ride when she greeted the audience ('Hello brothers and sisters'). The then Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was booed when he walked on stage.

But it was humble Vince Cable who won hearts and minds by admitting that his Party had not come anywhere near delivering when it came to Black representation:

There is one thing I will promise you; after this election I will personally take responsibility for ensuring that we do much better in regards to BME representation.

Well, that promise looks decidedly weak if not broken when one looks at a motion that will be debated at the Liberal Democrats conference this week. In the party's bid to ensure more women in parliament they will suggest:

Subject to there being a sufficient number of applicants of each sex, shortlists of two to four must include at least one member of each sex and short lists of five or more must include at least two members of each sex

However, when it comes to 'ethnic minorities' the emphasis is so much weaker:

There must also be due regard for the representation of ethnic minorities.

What does 'due regard' mean? Are they saying that in the past there wasn't 'due regard' to the fact that the Liberal Democrats have always been an all-white parliamentary party?

Once again the Lib Dems find it difficult to effectively confront the race issue within their Party. While one can recognise the fact that Vince Cable did not know he would be a senior figure in a Coalition Government, he must recognize a promise must be kept otherwise nobody will believe you in the future.

So come on Vince, keep your word!

Simon Woolley

Archived Comments

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Just to put a gentle reminder

I hope our Vince Cable keep will bring his promise, on black issues, to fore before it is too late!

BAME Representation within Liberal Democrats

Those of us from BAME bakgrounds who continue to work for the Liberal Democrats will continue to push Vince Cable, Nick Clegg and others to do more to end the ethnic deficit
That said - Liberal Democrats are the only Party that can be relied on to keep Equality and Fairness at the top of their agenda.

Can the LibDems really still be trusted on equality?

I'm sorry Rabi, as much as I respect you and your EMLD colleagues and the sheer hard work they've undertaken over the years saying that the LibDems are the only party that can be relied on to keep equality at the top of their agenda isn't fair or accurate.

It was a LibDem minister that's smashed the EHRC, it was the LibDems that turned against their own to vote down your EMLD resolution at conference a couple years back, and it's the LibDems that have ZERO BME MPs.

This is not a party that, despite some very good elements (they know who they are), can be trusted on equality for the foreseeable future.

And for those that misconstrue this as a party political attack, please don't. This is a lament for the party that had radical potential for truly shaping the debate and reality of equality in the UK that has now fallen short...what hope is there this will be different in future?