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!