BLACK AND ETHNIC VOTE ‘CAN DECIDE 100 ELECTION SEATS’
Inner-city seats, such as Solihull and Bradford West could be swayed by votes of minorities…
The black and minority ethnic vote could determine the outcome in more than 100 seats in the general election, campaigners have claimed.
Operation Black Vote (OBV), the campaign to address the under-representation in politics of ethnic minorities, said seats such as Finchley and Golders Green in north London, held by Labour with an estimated majority of only 31 as a result of boundary changes, yet with a black and ethnic minority (BME) population of 21,000, “demonstrate the potential clout of the BME vote”. Other key seats include Solihull, Crawley, Battersea, Harlow, Bradford West, Ealing North, Birmingham Yardley and Hove.
Simon Woolley, OBV’s director, said: “Never before in British history have our communities been so strategically well placed and mobilised to push for an agenda of racial justice.”
With the election predicted to be one of the most closely fought – the latest poll in today’s Mirror has the Conservative party with a five-point lead on 35%, to 30% for Labour and 21% for the Liberal Democrats – race equality should be a priority, according to a coalition of black and minority ethnic organisations.
A Black Manifesto calls for compulsory voting, the abolition of section 44 stop and searches, and a reinvestment act to tackle poverty in BME communities.
Dave Weaver, chair of the 1990 Trust, the national black organisation set up to protect the interests of Britain’s black communities, said: “Black Britons are third-class citizens in a country that claims to have a first-class democracy. This manifesto calls for racial equality to be considered central to achieving a cohesive and successful economy.
“We will distribute this to every black and minority ethnic community in the UK. Furthermore we can demonstrate that tackling racism is not only right in a moral sense, it’s also an imperative for a successful economic recovery.”
Karen Chouhan, of Equanomics UK said: “The poverty and unemployment levels in BME communities are staggering. It is gross that in this context £850bn has bailed out the banks.”