Cllr Eve Allison represents St Helen’s Ward in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
Why is it that ethnic ‘minorities’ fail to secure better footholds within the Conservative Party? By extension, what prevents a person from an ethnic minority background, especially one of colour from breaking through? How can the behind the scenes network be permeated?
Is it the variable of class, or is it the dominant host’s notions of perceived race…
For the Conservatives, surely they must be aware that the ‘old generational’ racial/ethnic stereotypes apply. The black/minority ethnic vote still swings predominantly to Labour.
However, loyalties are fickle. Each generation will hopefully not be as complacent as the last, usually the pioneer generation. The issue is also about asking what have Communism, Socialism and Labour governments actually achieved for many people of colour? Similarly an MP, councillor or political activist from an Asian, Black and or ethnic minority background, should not be relying on votes from their heritage. Instead we need a good clear dialogue earning respect and we need to continue the enduring task of breaking down barriers and perceptions. Complacency spreads, and causes much frustration, pain, despair and anguish.
There should be no barrier to black people holding – or aspiring to – the “good old fashioned” middle class values, which hold sway in Middle England. There is no inevitable correlation between black people and deprivation, poor schools, crime and dysfunctional single families.
People of colour do not just live and die in deprived fume-choked inner cities; they can thrive in locations such as Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Plymouth. The background noise of immigration, refugees, illegal immigrants, economic migrants, asylum seekers and so on should not block their involvement in the Conservative Party.
Can this ambition be undertaken against the ‘grandees’ and strategists, and more so against the Conservative Party’s long and damnable antipathy and disdain towards people of colour from Lord Salisbury onwards. There has been a delay in understanding the need to woo the votes of those that traditionally the party had not considered as middle class, suitable, respectable, appropriate or even eligible.
People of colour within the Conservative Party need to create the networks to be taken seriously in our communities.
It is indeed rather insulting to read material concerning how to operate in minority areas. Do political people of colour receive packs on how to operate in predominantly white working or middle class areas? As a candidate in St Helen’s Ward (residents including David Cameron) I had no such pack as I knocked on some of the most expensive doors in North Kensington. I had no such privileges. Yet due to tenacity, strength, passion, drive, a little charisma and the ability to reach everyone, regardless of class, colour, religion, sexual orientation, property and street location I won the day.
This Ward was not won by the ethnic population base, so called ‘identity politics’.
Identity politics cannot be manufactured out of thin air; it’s about the galvanising of people of colour, all ethnicities, being propelled towards a common cause. It is not about becoming imitation ‘white clones’ within a party. This involves the de-conditioning of whole swathes of our ethnic communities who wholeheartedly believe and have been socially conditioned that Labour is their natural home politically.
For the Conservatives, it is the perception that some groups are hard to reach, thus maintaining perceptions and barriers, of which all can be overcome by articulating one essential message to one audience, the electorate.