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The Party of Equality?

by Shamsur Rehman Khattak

posted in News and Society

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The Lib Dem have always had at its core the principle of equality. So it is ironic that following such heavy losses at the recent election, the Lib Dems find themselves with no female MP's in the Commons. The party of equality is now represented by 8 white men who have their work cut out in terms of salvaging the party from its losses. It seems the party is welcoming to women as Christmas is to turkeys. In contrast, Labour have two women contesting the leadership elections; the other smaller parties are female-led and the Tories have a number females in the cabinet, whilst the Lib Dems are painfully unisex.
The reality is that when Labour and Conservatives encouraged more women into their ranks, the party of equality did nothing of the sort. One reason is that the Lib Dems delegated power to local party's resulting in men dominating the local political scene ahead of women. The party is now suffering the consequences of decades of failing to nurture and promote women in the party. Whilst the other party's are courting the ethnic minority votes, the Lib Dems leave their local parties at the mercy of infighting and political bickering. The party needs to do more to attract ethnic minority activists and stamp out the local autocracy that exists at local party level in some areas. The grass roots must not be made to feel alienated through inequality.
It is hoped that in the future, all senior Lib Dems still remaining after the drubbing in the recent elections do more to promote inclusion of women and ethnic minority's into the ranks of the party of equality through short-lists and greater opportunity. Otherwise the party of equality is in danger of becoming outwardly the party of hypocrisy. In addition, the regional party machines are invited to take on greater responsibility of proactive-ness in the day to day operations of local parties to ensure that the principle of equality is upheld from the grassroots. The party has been prolific both inside and outside government on liberty and human rights issues. It is high time the party gave more prominence to the promotion of women and ethnic minority's in rank and file of the party. If the party is to return to its glory days, it must strike address the acute political inequality whilst continuing to be the champion of liberty and human rights.
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