Increasing women councillors – event


by Sunny
23rd July, 2008 at 2:42 am    

This is taking place today.

The Government has set up a Taskforce, chaired by Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman in the House of Lords, to increase the number of women from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities who are serving as councillors in local government. Local councillors play a vital role in their local communities and the Government wants to encourage and support more women from ethnic minority backgrounds to take part in public life.

Launched by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, the BAME Taskforce comprises 14 members, both past and present councillors, representing cross parties and different ethnicities. It aims to take practical action to address the under-representation of BAME women via a number of routes. These include holding outreach events within local communities, providing mentoring and working with organisations such as the Local Government Association, Operation Black Vote and the Fawcett Society to create a better understanding of the role of a councillor.

Baroness Uddin is a prominent figure in the black and Asian community. Cllr (Dr) Anwara Ali, Tower Hamlets, is a local GP and stood for election in 2006 with only six weeks notice. She secured the highest Labour majority and is already mentoring young BAME women would-be councillors.

If you want to go, email – pressoffice@shahrp.com


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Filed in: British Identity,Culture,Events,Party politics,Sex equality






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  1. billericaydicky — on 23rd July, 2008 at 9:52 am  

    I wondered when this would appear on PP. I don’t know why the people who organise these groups are not being prosecuted for misapropriating public funds because absolutely nothing whatsoever comes out of these think tanks.

    The “all black” short lists, I first of all thought it was a rugby team, are not only illegal they have been totally ruled out by non other than Harman herself so why persist with the charade? Call me cynical but I am going to say that it a money making scam for the likes of one of the main promoters of the racist fraud Simon Wooley of Operation Black Vote.

    How exactly are these BAME women, it used to be BME, going to become councillors. It is plain to everyone who knows anything about politics that in order to be a councillor it necessary to join a political party and be selected as a councillor or MP, is there anything that anyone does not understand about that?

    A person could stand as an independent and people do, usually on local issues, but in this case it would be necessary for an Asian Woman to stand as that which of course is as racist as the BNP.

    Everyone concerned knows that this latest exercise is so that everyone involved can claim to be “doing something” as well as getting a few quid and a bit of high profile exposure which is good for the CV when the next similar scheme comes along.

    It is the rational behind the whole thing that I object most to. Wooley invented the whole concept of the “black democratic deficit” which is now accepted as gospel by the people who dish out the cash. This theory claims that where it not for the racism of British society then every single institution would accuratly reflect the racial make of the community it was ” serving”.

    This is of course complete and utter nonsence but that hasn’t stopped it becoming holy writ in PC circles. Black and Asian people don’t join the fire service or the police for a varity of reasons and there is no way that you can force anyone to. In South Wales recently the local REC took the police to court because it didn’t have any Chinese officers and demanded quotas which meant that better qualified white applicants would be excluded. Sensibly the whole idea was dumped before the BNP could make an issue of it.

    The reverse side of this coin was demonstrated in Barking and Dagenham a couple of years ago when the BNP was making an issue of immigrants, that’s anyone with a foreign sounding name, taking more out of the health service than any other group.

    Searchlight crunched the numbers and we mass leafleted the estates with the statistics that that 80% of the GPs in the borough were Asian and a large percentage of the rest of hospital staff were born abroad.Take these people out of the health service we argued and it would collapse.

    The question that this then raises is how is it that such a large proportion of health care professionals are from ethnic minorities especially in the higher grades? The answer is simple, talent and ability!

    What we should be worrying about is not the race or gender of councillors but their ability to do the job. What is needed are dedicated local people willing to serve their communities but unfortunately we get time servers who are more interested in the financial allowances and perks.

    Working groups like this one are essentially racist in that there is an implied assumption that white society is racist and that the reasons for the lack of this or that is because of racism from white people. Out on the ground I know this to be untrue, the vast majority of white people are not prejudiced but are sick and tired of being told they are by the likes of Mr Wooley and the rest of the race industry.

    Good day out at the Dagenham Town Show at the weekend. Searchlight’s Hope Not Hate campaign organised a five a side football competition between Asian, African, African Caribbean, Latino and womens teams. It was the first time that some of these young people had had anything to do with youngsters of other races and a borough wide permanent league is now being formed.

    This is how to tackle social divisions, not in some useless talk shop which has no power to anything except talk.

  2. MaidMarian — on 23rd July, 2008 at 10:51 am  

    billericaydickey (1) – There is an awful lot there to agree with, but I don’t think that this event really falls into the category you are talking about.

    ‘holding outreach events within local communities, providing mentoring and working with organisations such as the Local Government Association, Operation Black Vote and the Fawcett Society to create a better understanding of the role of a councillor.’

    That is (to my rather limited understanding) positive action rather than active discrimination. You are quite right that one could question the evidence base for whether positive action actually translates to positive results and there is the look of a talking shop but to talk in terms of, ‘misappropriation,’ is stretching and detracts from your other good points.

    Indeed, if anything your later points about the imbalance in the NHS rather suggests that positive action is needed in that area doesn’t it? At least in the short-term.

    I certainly agree that what you term the race industry is divisive. More than that it is predicated on a strangely limited vision of ‘difference’ and the needs it creates that, to my mind, comes straight from an early-1970s mindset.

    However, to make the assumption that every one of these groups is, by their very existence, saying you are racist is hypersensitive. It may well be that some of the people involved make such assumptions of course, but you still look to be generalising rather like Woolley and his chums.

    I agree with your overall point that the race relations industry (for want of a better term) does more harm than good and that civic events are the way forward in the long term.

    What I would like to see is a broadened notion of equality that looks at the very real difference in society now. European immigrants for example are very badly served by the race relations industry which skates very close to seeing equality (a rather faux concept) as more important than integration.

    You make many good points, but stretching the issue helps no one. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with measures to promote equality per se and there is nothing to my mind that makes diversity incompatible with integration. Hypersensitivity on both sides is a part of the problem.

    Best of luck to you.

  3. ashik — on 23rd July, 2008 at 11:04 am  

    BAME should concentrate on encouraging more women, whatever their ethnic background, to join political parties and work at grassroots level. Women will then start to filter through as councillors and MP’s. We generally need more women in politics.

    I understand Baroness Uddin once stood for nomination as an MP from the Labour Party in BG&B but was not selected due to her sex (and the fact she is not a Sylheti Bengali). So I guess she has the requisite experience about the difficulties women face in the political jungle.

  4. billaricaydickey — on 23rd July, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Maid Marion,

    I’ll get back to you later because I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying about these talk shop/think tanks.

    Ashik,

    Pola Uddin is from Khulna but is married to a Syhleti. She wasn’t a very good councillor and has been very low profile in Bethnal Green which is why she wasn’t selected. Instead the East End got Oona King who was even worse! It seems that when she was Glenys Kinnock,s PA in Brussels Glenys would end up in the wrong city giving the wrong speech. Still, good to have a discussion on this.

  5. persephone — on 23rd July, 2008 at 6:56 pm  

    I believe it is not racism that is preventing asian (women) into politics but the aspect of it as career path/interest. In the last 2/3 years the area i live in is now starting to see asian male candidates so it is happening but slowly

  6. billaricaydicky — on 24th July, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

    persephone? what are you on about?

  7. persephone — on 24th July, 2008 at 5:05 pm  

    Billaricaydicky

    Am saying it is not racism that is preventing asians from getting involved as councillors etc but their personal preferences and cultural leaning are towards other interests/paths.

    This is not a defence of that – if asians are seeking change then they should get involved more

  8. MaidMarian — on 24th July, 2008 at 7:26 pm  

    billaricaydickey –

    persephone is correct. Decisions are made by the people who show up.

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