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My name is Abdi Duale and I am the newly elected London Young Labour BAME Officer. In a city whereby more than half of the population is BAME, the importance of ensuring BAME issues are given more than adequate consideration within the structures of London Young Labour is what encouraged me to stand for it and I look forward to working with the different groups in the Labour Party to help deliver on my campaign priorities.

Various reports have highlighted the mental health stigma that exists within BAME communities, this stigma often leads to long-term mental health illnesses such as schizophrenia and in some cases suicide. A report commissioned by Lankelly Chase Foundation, Mind, The Afiya Trust and Centre for Mental Health highlights that 23% of inpatients on mental health wards or outpatients on Community Treatment Orders were from black and minority ethnic groups and that people from BAME communities are more likely to be diagnosed with severe mental illness than their non-BAME counterparts. In light of this, the London Young Labour BAME Network will for the first time be campaigning alongside different charities and organisations to break down the barriers that exist between young people of colour and mental health services.

Now more than ever is it important that advocates and allies for BAME liberation are best equipped to fight against all forms of racism. It has been particularly tragic that post-Brexit Britain has empowered far right extremists and bigots from across the political spectrum. Such an environment has seen a rise in racially-motivated hate crimes and has fermented a climate of oppression against people of an ethnic minority background - an unacceptable state of affairs. Our young members must be trained and aware of the fight against antisemitism, islamophobia, racism and all other forms of discrimination. For that reason, I have pledged to work closely with the Jewish Labour Movement & BAME Labour to provide training workshops so that our movement is truly anti-racist.

Getting to know all the structures of the party can feel like an impossible task. For many new and current members they can often be off-putting and even appear too complex, a barrier which prevents increased BAME involvement within the party and to the detriment of the Labour Party’s longstanding aim to increase BAME representation. In the summer I shall be hosting the first ever BAME Political Education Day. What this day will encompass is training to ensure our young members have the tools that they need to take up elected roles within the Labour Party and local government. Young members will be equipped with the skills to write speeches, run campaigns and use Nationbuilder to enable them to excel within the party.

I am optimistic that London Young Labour, which now has the most diverse Labour committee in the entire country, will be at the forefront of BAME liberation within the Labour Party. It will be my utmost pleasure to implement all of my campaign pledges over the coming year and I hope it will bring about a lasting change to London Young Labour.

Abdi Duale is a student at the University of Plymouth (London Campus), he studies Oil and Gas Management. Abdi joined the Labour Party after 2015 General Election defeat, he is a party activist and the Youth Officer for Ealing North CLP.

London Young Labour and BAME Liberation

My name is Abdi Duale and I am the newly elected London Young Labour BAME Officer. In a city whereby more than half of the population is BAME, the importance...

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Two years ago, I proposed a motion to the London Young Labour Conference which sought to introduce mandatory positions for black, Asian and other ethnic minority members on its 22-strong elected committee. This Committee represents over 15,000 young Labour Members across London.

Currently, there is only one position for ethnic minorities – the designated BAME Officer – whose responsibility is to ensure that the views of ethnic minorities are heard. Of the outgoing Committee, only four of 22 were from an ethnic minority.

This is despite London being the most diverse city in the UK in which nearly half of its population will be BAME at the end of the decade and ethnic minorities are projected to be the majority of under 24s.

How can we as a political party purport to serve the interests of Londoners but fail to do this in our own house? Especially in a youth organisation which aims to represent the most diverse city in our country.

There is already a rule that at least half of the elected bloc positions should be reserved for self-defining women, with an aim to increase the representation of this group. So there was precedent for affirmative action.

By just two votes that motion failed in 2015. The room was divided. Although there was a comradely debate, I recall two particular contributions from members. The first, a white man, proclaimed "with this [motion for mandatory BAME positions] and seven positions for women, what about us?" The second, from a black man, suggested this move was tokenism, promoting "special treatment".

I was not surprised by these contributions but I was disappointed that they came from Labour members. As a party, Labour prides itself on equality, extending opportunity to those who wouldn't otherwise have it; promoting progressive politics; being the voice of the ostracised. Identity politics is our politics.

Young Labour still has issues with BAME representation. As recently as last year BAME members were left feeling unwelcome and disenfranchised as the Young Labour Conference descended in to an extremely factional and hostile environment.

With this in mind, I sought to bring this motion back – cleaning-up many specifics and gaining popular support. I approached members in Labour’s moderate and Momentum faction, informing them that Young Labour needs to pave the way and if we actually want to be an inclusive organisation we need to work together – past actions cannot be sustained.

On Saturday, the motion passed unanimously, guaranteeing at least five BAME members on the elected Committee. History was made. But it's not enough and we cannot stop there. Issues surrounding race in Young Labour and the wider Party persist. Even with the passing of this motion we will face battles for our voice to be heard across Young Labour, in wider Labour Party structures and Council and Parliamentary selections. Change won't happen in a year, or even two, but it will.

Siddo is a young Labour activist and Vice Chair of Enfield North CLP. He previously served as London Young Labour BAME Officer 2015-16

History was made at the London Young Labour Conference, but we’re not done yet

Two years ago, I proposed a motion to the London Young Labour Conference which sought to introduce mandatory positions for black, Asian and other ethnic minority members on its 22-strong...

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It was a full house in committee room nine of the House of Commons, sat upon the gaze of a gargantuan portrait of Sir Robert Peel was a room was packed wall to wall with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people. Many of whom had come from across country to be at the launch of BAME Labour's mentoring and political education scheme.

We Need BAME Labour's Mentoring Scheme - Here's Why

  It was a full house in committee room nine of the House of Commons, sat upon the gaze of a gargantuan portrait of Sir Robert Peel was a room... Read more

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part one here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

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4. How would you help pull up BAME communities, specifically Muslim communities, from being at the bottom of the economic active population?

Owen Smith [OS]: Recent research has shown the additional disadvantage in employment and income experienced by Muslims. A recent report by the Women and Equalities Committees shows that Muslim women are the most disadvantaged and three times more likely to be unemployed jobseekers than women generally. My plans for fair employment will include banning exploitative zero hours contracts, introducing a modern Equal Pay Act, and wages councils in the care, hospitality and retail sectors, and a real living wage. All these policies will help close the BAME and gender pay gaps. And we also need to constantly tackle Islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms, to ensure that no one is held back from achieving their full potential in the workplace. 

Jeremy Corbyn [JC]: Britain is rightly proud of being one of the most diverse communities in the world. 

Our first priority will be education. Educations is the gateway to realising potential. My commitment to restore free education and Education Maintenance Allowance will help BAME communities to become economically active. Once in the job market we will ensure the practices in the public and private sector root out inequality in recruitment and in the work place. 

Muslim face unique disadvantages which we aim to urgently tackle in order to make equality of opportunity a reality for all BAME communities. We will ensure that the experience of BAME people are properly represented in Workplace 2020 and take forward measures such as implementing fair and transparent employment practices and explore further initiatives such as name blind recruitment practices to combat discriminatory recruitment practices which disproportionately impacts on BAME and Muslim individuals. 

We will utilise our £500 billion investment in infrastructure, backed by our publicly owned National Investment Bank and regional development banks, to ensure that women and BAME communities gain access to the high quality jobs of the future, while creating a million new jobs. 

We have also committed to policies that will end the scourge of low paid and insecure work, raising the statutory minimum wage, ending exploitative zero hours contracts, as well as strengthening employment and trade union rights for equality in the workplace and to tackle discrimination. 

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5. How would you provide extra help for BAME women wishing to stand for election?

[OS]: I will continue to use the Future Candidates Programme, and work with groups like the Labour Women's Network and Fabian Women's Network, to provide support for BAME women standing for election. I know that the cost of standing for election can be a significant deterrent for many women, including from BAME backgrounds. We must find ways to make sure cost does not prevent candidates from coming forward. The NEC are looking at this issue and I look forward to seeing their recommendations, as action is urgently needed. 

[JC]: The increase in Labour membership over the past year provides a vast and diverse resource for our movement, however we cannot assume that this will translate into increased representation for traditionally underrepresented groups. 

The fact that 12% of Britons come from a BAME background, yet only 6.3% of MPs do is testament to the barriers people face. Women are also underrepresented across out society and in our democracy at all levels - and of course BAME women are particularly underrepresented. We need to challenge the barriers to this at ever level. 

To ensure greater representation of BAME women we need to bring about a cultural shift both inside and outside the Labour party. One of the points I have made at hustings is that we need to look at mechanisms to increase our diversity, be reflective of society as a whole and increase our representation of all women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBT people. We have also committed to taking forward the recommendations of the Shami Chakrabarti report in ensuring that we are building an inclusive party that is welcoming to all. 

6. You've both proposed women's representation in the shadow cabinet. How would you encourage greater BAME representation?

[OS]: I want Parliament to be more reflective of the communities we seek to represent, and of the country as a whole. 

As Leader of the Labour Party, I'd work closely with BAME Labour and the NEC to help encourage and support greater representation of BAME people in Parliament. We need to encourage people to get more involved by standing for CLP officer positions, as well as for council and parliament. We also need to look outside our Party, working with community groups and trade unions to identify talented BAME campaigners and activists who could be future Labour members and representatives. Greater BAME representation in parliament will enable us to have a shadow cabinet that reflects the diversity of the country, and I am committed to achieving this. 

[JC]: As a party we must never go back to the all too recent situation of having an all-white front bench and a commitment to this principle should be a minimum requirement to stand as Labour leader. However, we cannot allow this limited and recent progress to satisfy us; the shadow cabinet still does not reflect the country it seeks to represent that his must be addressed. At the last shadow cabinet elections in 2010, only one BAME candidate was elected and only three candidates stood. To encourage this to change we must first address the number of BAME MPs. At the current rate it will take 100 years before BAME Parliamentarians reach a number that is reflective of society. We will initiate a review into the actions required to address BAME representation, considering all options. 

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 2

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular...

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular importance to the BAME community. Due to the length of both the candidates answers (which is greatly appreciated!), we've split the questions and answers into two parts. You can read part two here.

Don't forget that the deadline to vote for the Labour leadership is noon on Wednesday 21st September.

BAME Labour Leadership Questions - Part 1

With just over a week to go before the leader of the Labour party is announced in Liverpool, we wrote to both candidates asking them questions that were of particular... Read more

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With the release of the boundary review yesterday, we've been looking at how the changes could potentially affect Labour BAME MPs.

The conclusion? Most of the 28 MPs are safe, with their constituency staying or their former seat forming a new seat without any other Labour MPs competing for the same area. 

A few BAME MPs are worth keeping an eye on. Chuka Umunna looks set to be selected for the new Streatham and Mitcham seat. However, his neighbour Siobhan McDonagh does not pass the 40% threshold to be automatically selected for a new seat. Although she is more likely to run for the new seat of Merton and Wimbledon Central, there is an outside chance she might run against Chuka. 

Theoretically, Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall) and Seema Maholtra (Feltham and Heston) could run against each other for the new seat of Southall and Heston. However, it's far more likely for Seema to run for Feltham and Hounslow. 

There are however two BAME MPs that will have to fight for re-selection. Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) and Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North West) will have to fight for the new seat of New Castle upon Tyne North West with both MPs passing the 40% threshold. 

Diane Abbott's seat of Hackney North and Stoke Newington will be split between the new constituency Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington and Hackney Central. While there's much hay about Diane Abbott going against Jeremy Corbyn for Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington, Diane doesn't meet the 40% threshold to automatically be selected for the seat.

Diane is far more likely to go for Hackney Central where she meets the criteria for re-selection. However, she'll be likely to run against Meg Hillier, the current Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch.

For the full list of BAME Labour MPs and how the boundary changes could potentially affect them, scroll down. 

How the re-selection process works for Labour MPs

So how does the system work? Appendix 3 of the Labour Rulebook explains it all, but here's a rough summary. 

When more than 40% of people in an MP's old constituency transfer to a new seat, that MP gets reselected automatically in a trigger ballot.

That means Labour members in these areas won't get a vote to unseat their MP - but there's a catch.

If two Labour MPs have a 40% claim on a seat, which happens in several cases, they can both stand against each other in a vote by their new Constituency Labour Party (CLP)

There will be three options on the ballot - MP 1, MP 2, and an option to reject them both and have an open contest.

But the open contest must get 50% or more to pass. So if MP 1 gets 41%, and an open contest gets 45%, MP 1 will still get selected.

If an MP doesn't have a 40% claim on any seat, they are not automatically eligible. They'll have to apply to Labour's NEC for a legitimate claim on another seat or start their careers again.

Makes sense? Right, here are the list of BAME Labour MPs:

How the boundary review may affect Labour BAME MPs

With the release of the boundary review yesterday, we've been looking at how the changes could potentially affect Labour BAME MPs. The conclusion? Most of the 28 MPs are safe,... Read more

I was so excited when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. As a young Muslim girl I had always felt alienated by mainstream politics, particularly the foreign policies of the New Labour government. So when Jeremy was elected I finally felt like maybe a mainstream party could represent me and my views, and I was very eager to see the journey that Labour would go on. I wanted a profoundly left-wing socialist party. 

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I used to support Corbyn, but Owen Smith has the vision young Muslim women like me need

I was so excited when Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party. As a young Muslim girl I had always felt alienated by mainstream politics, particularly the... Read more

The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012 sparked a movement that challenged, and challenges, US society to look at anti-black racism and state violence. Aided by social media, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is moving beyond borders and spreading across the world. It has also had a profound impact on the tone of the US Presidential election - a key moment of exposure being the disruption of Bernie Sander's campaign rally in Seattle.

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Black Lives Matter: A movement exploring new territory?

The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012 sparked a movement that challenged, and challenges, US society to look at anti-black racism and state violence. Aided by social... Read more

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With Labour Conference coming up at the end of the month, we thought we'd put in one easy place all the events that we're interested in going to. Hope to see you there!

If there's anything that we've missed or there's an event that you're looking forward to then tell us! Email at: LabourBAME@gmail.com

Events for BAME Members at Conference

With Labour Conference coming up at the end of the month, we thought we'd put in one easy place all the events that we're interested in going to. Hope to... Read more

Labour has launched a new nationwide consultation to develop the Party's policies to fight discrimination and promote racial equality. The consultation is in partnership with the Race Equality Advisory Group, chaired by Patrick Vernon OBE and will engage Britain's diverse communities and experts in a series of special events all over the country and online through the Your Britain policy website: http://goo.gl/9Ghhe1

Race Equality 2020 Consultation

Labour has launched a new nationwide consultation to develop the Party's policies to fight discrimination and promote racial equality. The consultation is in partnership with the Race Equality Advisory Group,... Read more

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