“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS POWERLESS PEOPLE”

​“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS POWERLESS PEOPLE”

SUNDAY JULY 31ST 2016

Politics with a large and small p are reactive places. The Brexit vote showed me that no one had any plan past the moment in front of them. “Too busy driving to get gas” (Stephen Covey). In a time of instant media and information, views and reasoning can change in an instant. I open up my browser to check my emails and unfolding before my eyes there is a stabbing and bombing in Germany. It appears that I have the facts right there. All at my fingertips. Now. I don’t. Just images and words from different people’s agendas.

Which Party or politician speaks for me?

 

Some Black and Ethnic people with aspirations are leaving big cities to move to smaller towns and the suburbs. They want a better quality of life. They want safer areas, more facilities and better schools for their children. They want bigger or cheaper houses. They worry less about colour and more about other aspects of their identity, personality and life. Their successes define them – not their colour. And they are still aware and proud of their ethnicity.They vote with those aspirations and their family’s future in mind. They have dreams and desires. Where is the political Party for them?

The Labour Party is not doing anything to keep me on board and get my vote. The con servatives have had two female leaders in the past 50 years. The first is still spoken of in glowing terms by some of her Party. However, there is Thatcherism pervading politics, economics and social life years after her death in 2013.There is no Wilsonism; Blairism/Blairite lasted as long as New Labour; some of his party and the public are chasing Labour’s most successful Prime minister to prosecute him for war crimes; there is no Millibandism; what will follow Corbyn?
One newspaper shouted “the next prime minister will be a woman”. The con servatives got to a final list of two white women. Labour offers me two white men – one of whom tells me that he is a normal man with a wife and two kids. Every gay mans’ role model.

After over forty years of equalities legislation, the majority of which the Labour Party enacted, why hasn’t Labour had a female, black or gay leader?

I keep asking and still get no real answer.

“Thatcher was like a man anyway”. “They thought they could control her”

I will keep asking.

A friend who I invited to a Brighton Labour Party BAME group meeting said “I looked at the manifesto. Cannot see how I am represented by or will benefit from it as a fifty something gay, afro-Caribbean man living in Brighton and Hove.

In Brighton and Hove the Party had the chance of having a well connected and highly experienced black man as a potential councillor. However, they chose another white man.

Of the fifty–four Councillors in Brighton and Hove non are from an ethnic minority background – the same as many other cities I bet.

Why?

“The Brighton Summit…..(2015)attracted more than 300 people in the local business world…..” (Bex Bastable – Brighton and Hove Independent.)

In October there will be the Brighton summit. A practical day of speakers, talks and workshops with the theme “desires and dreams” – “it will be the most enjoyable business conference you’ve ever attended” says Carol Lewis, Brighton Chamber of Commerce President. I looked at the website to check the list of speakers (31st July). Brighton I am told is creative, innovative and a beacon of diversity. We voted to stay in Europe. Going by the photos on the Summit website – every speaker looks white to me. The theme is “Desires and dreams”

Don’t black business people have desires and dreams?

Why should I pay £120 for my ticket?

Why do I even have to say this in 2016?

Maybe this is like the conversation I had with the organisers of the 2015 Tedx conference in Brighton. I asked them why “none of the nine speakers reflected me?”

Answers – It’s because they (the organisers) are volunteers. It’s because they “choose on merit, not colour” Therefore I wonder are there no quality speakers of colour in Brighton. I sent them a list of names of quality, skilled and qualified black people here in Brighton.

Why have some of these organisations – especially in Brighton and Hove done so well in supporting and enabling LGBT people and women to succeed and have a voice. The Council Workforce report 2014/15* showed instances where LGBT staff progressed, especially in management posts, while BAME staff did les well.

Maybe one of the reasons is that those communities are predominantly white people talking to white people. Whenever I attend LGBT events in Brighton I am in a minority and I can handle that. Please don’t waste my time with the “race card “or “chip on my shoulder” argument. Those say more about you than me.

“Sikhona, I am here to be seen”

“Sawubona, I see you”

Meanwhile back at Labour/Corbinista/Momentum/Brighton District Labour Party suspended/Corbyn wins court case/knocking women on their heels H.Q. an ongoing self-indulgent bunfight continues.

Moreover, this is who is speaking up for me.

“If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white” Theresa May, July 2016. One of the quotes that will be hanging on the walls of Downing Street. To give staff a constant reminder to deliver results.(Nigel Morris, The Metro, Political Editor.)

Proactive – I am stepping back from the fray to see what is out there.

Sit and relax whispered the tree to the bird”

“There is no such thing as powerless people. Only those who have not seen and used their will” (B.Okri, 1997).
*http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/Workforce%20Equalities%20Report%202014-15_0.pdf. See the graphs on page 5 and the executive summary on pages 6 & 7.

http://www.keithstewart.co.uk       Photographs by ©Keith Stewart.

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