EU Elections: Why BAME voters should vote for us?

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I am sorry this is so late, but given the timescale it’s the best we could do.

We asked all of the mainstream political parties: Tell us why Black and minority ethnic voters should vote for your party in these EU elections.

We told them this is about the EU, but also on their views domestically too.

Here’s their response. Now you decide.

And when you vote tomorrow - if you vote - take your children.  Show them how we can demand greater race equality through the ballot box.

Simon Woolley
 

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Green Part

The Green Party is proud to celebrate diversity, and the rich contribution that people from BAME backgrounds have made to our society.

In the UK we’ve been the leaders in challenging the toxic rhetoric directed against migrants, and the Home Office’s Hostile Environment, which has damaged and threatened lives. We’ve campaigned hard for asylum-seekers to be allowed to work, for an end to immigration detention and against the harsh family visa rules.

Green peer Jenny Jones has been a strong critic of discriminatory use of police stop-and-search powers and Young Greens have led our calls for anonymised CVs to be made standard in recruitment.

Over the past five years, Greens have campaigned hard in the European Parliament for improved rights for national, racial, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities within the EU.

But while small steps have been taken towards progress, the Race Disparity Audit gave us a stark reminder of the social and economic injustice faced by so many BAME individuals.

That’s why we’re campaigning for concrete changes that will transform lives. Greens across Europe are uniting to call for a guaranteed minimum income for everyone in the European Union. This figure will stand at 60% of the median national income, currently £17,040 in the UK – helping 14 million people, a disproportionate percentage of them from BAME communities.

We are also developing new initiatives to support BAME businesspeople and to widen their trading links within Europe, and beyond.

Although we’d always like to see greater representation, we’re proud of our wonderful BAME candidates, notably Magid Magid, who as Lord Mayor of Sheffield has had an impact of engaging communities in politics far beyond his home city and as number 1 on the Yorkshire and Humber list has a great chance to be elected to Brussels. We’ve also got hopes of sending with him the outgoing Lord Mayor of Bristol, Cleo Lake, and Gulnar Hasnain, number two on the lists in London and the South West respectively.

ChangeUK

Black and Ethnic Minority communities stand to be at the sharp end of the fallout from Brexit. Change UK are standing on a platform of revoking Article 50, holding a People's Vote on any Brexit deal, defending free movement and campaigning to remain in the EU.

The rise in hate crime since the Brexit vote has divided our communities. With the Tory Party heading towards a No Deal Brexit, our hard won rights, those that guarantee our ability to live and work in any of the EU member states, those that protect our rights at work, and our protections against racial discrimination, are under threat.

The Windrush scandal was an outrage, where people who had lived and contributed to our country their whole lives were hounded by the Home Office, and treated like strangers and second class citizens. I now fear the same will happen to our European friends and neighbours in the event of Brexit.

The European elections are an opportunity to send a message to the main parties who continue to support and facilitate Brexit. Vote Change UK on Thursday to send an unequivocally pro-EU message to Westminster.

Liberal Democrat

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit. That really matters, because Brexit has polarised our country – and it’s people from BAME communities and backgrounds who are paying the price.

Divisive, inflammatory rhetoric from pro-Brexit politicians about immigrants and ethnic minority communities has contributed to a shocking rise in hate crime. The aftermath of the 2016 referendum saw a clear spike in racially- and religiously-motivated attacks – especially against Muslims.

The rise of far-right extremists like Tommy Robinson and populists like Nigel Farage is a wake-up call. We must stand up to those who spread hatred, not pander to them.

And we must tackle other forms of prejudice and discrimination too. While the UK has made good progress towards race equality in some respects, there is still a great deal more to do. We demand far better than a country where BAME children are more likely to live in persistent poverty than their white peers; where our Parliament, councils, courts and boardrooms are overwhelmingly white; and where black people are disproportionately likely to be stopped by the police, arrested and imprisoned.

Brexit threatens to undermine the progress we have made by removing the EU’s minimum standards for protection against discrimination and enabling future governments to weaken employment and equality legislation. And with the Conservatives repeatedly threatening to abolish the Human Rights Act, the damage to our fundamental rights could be even more severe.

The best way to preserve and enhance those protections is to stop Brexit by voting for the biggest, strongest remain party: the Liberal Democrats.

But stopping Brexit won’t be enough on its own. The Liberal Democrats are determined to eradicate race inequality throughout our society.

We will end the Conservatives’ ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies that caused the Windrush scandal, including the discriminatory ‘right to rent’ checks that have been ruled unlawful but which the Government refuses to abolish. We will tackle hate crime head-on, including by exposing and confronting stereotyping in the media.

We will close the ethnic minority pay gap by requiring large employers to report on it, as they do for gender. We will increase the representation of BAME people by setting realistic but ambitious targets and holding organisations to account for meeting them. And we will invest in schools and youth services, where Conservative cuts have disproportionately impacted ethnic minority groups.

By stopping Brexit and focusing on tackling the inequalities that limit opportunities for far too many BAME people, the Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for everyone in a fair, free and open society.

Labour

Labour is the Party of equality. We were built on the values of social justice, internationalism and human rights. We have set out a radical plan for government to eliminate racial inequality from the economy and society in our Race and Faith Manifesto.

This task is now more urgent. The threat from the far right is real. They serve only to sow division and offer no solutions. A vote for Labour in the EU elections will challenge the far-right in Europe and the UK. A vote for Labour is a vote to end the hostile environment for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, who bear the brunt of the austerity and the politics of hate.

A vote for Labour is a vote to bring our divided country together. Labour is the only party that stands for the real change our communities desperately need.

Together, we can defeat the far right. Together, we can build a better future. A future that unite us and celebrates our differences. Vote Labour this Thursday.

Conservatives

The Conservative Party has a long and proud history as the party of opportunity. As a Party we are determined to build a country that works for everyone, from every background. At the very core of this commitment is a determination to foster an economy and a society that gives opportunities to all - no matter who you are or where you're from.

That is why we are improving access to a great education and good jobs, so everyone has the chance to get on in life – with more young people from BAME communities starting apprenticeships and going to university than ever before. Last year, this Conservative government announced the Race at Work Charter to commit businesses to a series of measures to tackle ethnic disparities in the workplace including ethnic pay gap reporting and using Government procurement to ensure businesses engage in meaningful race equality initiatives. This Charter follows the Government’s ground-breaking Race Disparity Audit of public services to help end injustices that many people from our BAME communities experience.

We are determined to continue our work towards a brighter future for Britain – building on our record of success delivering better financial security for our communities, with BAME employment at a record high, and taking action to create a stronger, more integrated Britain. Tomorrow, there will be elections to the European Parliament. We didn’t want to be fighting them, we wanted to be out of the EU by now and if Parliament had backed a Brexit deal we already would be. But we are a national party and we fight national elections and, in these elections, I would urge people to vote Conservative.

Only the Conservatives are committed to respecting the referendum result and delivering Brexit with a deal – other parties either want to ignore democracy or have proved unwilling to get the job done – voting Conservative will not only to send a clear message to those intent on ignoring the will of the people, but more importantly it will mean we can focus on getting a deal over the line and refocus on working on things that matter most to everyone – jobs, wages, the NHS, education and safe communities.

written exclusively for Operation Black Vote

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