Campaigners power up the Black and minority ethnic (BME) vote 

By  Thomas L Blair 02 June 2017 copyright

Simon Wooley, Operation Black Vote
Simon Woolley, Operation Black Vote

If you want to see the pathologies of contemporary politics and society laid out for you,  with some clues to what equality groups are demanding, read on.

“Britain is at a crossroads on race equality, Brexit, immigration and identity say, a coalition of race equality organisations. Their Manifesto for Race Quality aims to ” put fairness and equal life chances for Britain’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. So that we can all face future challenges together, equally”.

Moreover, they demand:

  • A comprehensive government-wide race equality strategy;
  • Brexit negotiations must be “race equality-proofed” to safeguard rights protecting citizens against discrimination;
  • A new law prohibiting online hate which forces social media firms to take action.

The online manifesto features a new analysis of the power of the Black and ethnic minority (BME) vote in this snap general election.

A Power of the Black Vote report found that 45 of the top 50 most marginal seats have BME electorates larger than the 2015 majority. See

Operation Black Vote coordinated the Race Equality 2017 coalition. Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, said:

“Britain is at a crossroads on Brexit, immigration, and British identity. How these issues play out in this snap election will determine the country’s direction for a generation. The key question is to what extent will Black and minority ethnic communities (BME) be involved in this debate?

“Persistent race inequalities in employment, education, housing and the criminal justice system has meant and lack of social mobility for BME children growing up to be adults is nothing short of a scandal. Many do succeed despite the barriers but too many fail to have their potential recognised much less fulfilled. That is why we are calling for a government-wide race equality strategy to root out racial inequality wherever it lurks in the system.

Key members of the coalition put their race equality views on record.

Dr Omar Khan, Director of the Runnymede Trust, said:

“Given the persistence and extent of racial inequalities we need the next government to have an actual plan to reduce racial inequalities, not just warm words. With post-Brexit Britain raising existential questions about who we are, we also need the next government to affirm that race equality is a core British value and that minorities won’t see their rights and protections weakened”

Viv Ahmun, from Blacksox, said:

“Unemployment of 30% amongst 16-24 year old Black people in comparison to just 13% amongst white people of the same age is a shocking disparity that feeds into and drives the poverty of opportunity that underpins rises in violence and mental ill health. The next government must do more to increase opportunities for employment and business development within BAME communities.”

Zita Holbourne, National Chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK and National Vice President, Public and Commercial Services Union, said:

“Austerity combined with institutional racism is impacting disproportionately on BAME workers. Our manifesto seeks to address the adverse impacts of cuts on BAME workers from redundancies in the public sector having a double impact on BAME women to zero hour contracts meaning young BAME workers have no job security, whilst addressing the structural systems of discrimination that already existed before cuts, in appraisal, promotion, progression and recruitment. Race Equality should be a right, not a privilege.”

Patrick Vernon OBE, trustee of Bernie Grant Trust and founder of 100 Great Black Britons, said:

“This is the 30th anniversary of Black History Month and the election of the late Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott, Paul Boateng and Keith Vaz as MPs. Tackling racial inequalities still have not been fully achieved. Our manifesto is a demand for our civil and economics rights to be taken seriously and delivered to all political parties.”

Lee Jasper, Blacksox sponsor, said:

“Black and Asian people in the UK today look with trepidation towards an uncertain future in a Brexit Britain. Racial inequality in the UK is now wider than any other time in our history. Hate crime is rising and Black unemployment is at record levels. This no time abandon hope and refuse to vote. It’s time for UK Civil Rights movement.”

Relevant source is OBV Press release: Monday 22nd May 2017, For Immediate Release. Contact OBV press office: 020 8983 5430 / 020 8983 5444 / 07584 177 529 / 07920 057 237


OBV is non-partisan political campaigning organisation

Organisations supporting the ‘Race Equality 2017’ manifesto include:

Runnymede Trust; Aspire Education Group; Coreplan; Ukren; BTEG; Friends, Families and Travellers; BSWN; Blacksox; Father 2 Father; DWC Global; Reallity; Voyage Youth; Race on the Agenda; Every Generation Media; BARAC; JUST Yorkshire; Society of Black Lawyers; Race Equality Foundation; Bernie Grant Trust.