One of the reasons that I joined the Liberal Party, as we were then, 54 years ago was because liberals believe passionately in internationalism and in true equality of opportunity. We don’t care about the colour of a person’s skin but about the colour of their heart. We don’t care about people’s faith as long as they don’t seek to inflict it on others. We don’t care about people’s sexuality but hope that their sexuality is expressed within mutually loving relationships.
As Liberal Democrats we believe that “no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance and conformity” and that the “role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions which affect their lives”. There is a specific need to ensure that women and people from LGBTQ+ and BAME communities and those with disabilities are not left behind in our City.
To look at repression in wider terms we can see a huge waste of resource as we fail to engage a significant element of our population in activity, social or economic which could benefit society. This is played out with individuals and communities unable to establish a meaningful life because they cannot develop their own potential.
I value difference. A popular song of the 60s set the aim of creating, “khaki coloured people by the score”. This was a time when a Saturday night favourite was the ‘Black and White Minstrel Show’ when white men blacked up to sing American slave songs. I don’t want us to be khaki coloured I want our City to be diverse. I want people to be comfortable in their own skins and the rest to be respectful of lifestyle choices that others make. I love being able to go from a Yam Festival from Nigeria to Chinese national events within three miles of each other in our own City.
So below is the extract from our manifesto, Demand Better, which deals with these issues. You will find parts of our responses to sexual and racial issues in other pats of our manifesto as well. We believe that we are the “World in One City” and we must ensure that Liverpool is a great place to live for all people who care about our City. Our manifesto can be accessed at http://www.liverlibdems.org.uk
Our Overriding Policy
Our overriding policy is to ensure that the Council and all decision makers are aware of the issues that affect BAME communities, women, those from LGBTQ+ especially trans communities and those with disabilities living in Liverpool today. These issues range across all spheres from health to housing and from education to social care and must be embraced by all players within our City.
Liverpool is a City with high levels of inequality based on faith, colour, ethnicity, disability and sexuality. Liverpool will only achieve its full capacity as a City if all individuals within the City can achieve their full capacity. These existing problems have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic resulting in higher infection rates, hospitalisation and death. It has also had a particular effect on the employment opportunities for these communities in the post-Covid era.
Our Six to Fix
- We will lead by example. Our Council Group currently has a 50:50 gender balance. We will put in place actions to ensure that continues and to help women develop their potential in leadership positions within the Council. We will work across all spheres within the council and the key employers in the city such as the NHS, the Police, and the Universities to positively promote women into employment and key positions within those organisations.
- We will further develop existing partnerships with organisations and groups that currently provide services for BAME and LGBTQ+ communities, women and those with disabilities in Liverpool to understand the work that is currently being achieved in the city and coordinate activities. We will ensure that those partnerships will be given a place in all decision-making processes in order that their expertise can be incorporated in all public sector organisations.
- We will appoint an Equalities Champion to ensure that the Council and its partners observe equal opportunities policies in the appointment of staff at all levels and in the policies and programmes that they create throughout the City.
- We will conduct an audit of all public sector organisations in the City to review the position of women in senior management positions and on controlling Boards. We will then publish lists of those organisations highlighting good and poor performances in terms of gender balance at a senior level.
- We will work with the Council’s public health department, the Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the Liverpool Royal University Hospital and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to promote both policies and practices which will assist the specific physical and mental health issues faced by women and members of BAME, LGBTQ+ communities and those with disabilities.
- We will promote policies both within the Education Service and voluntary sector to address youth issues such as period poverty, racial and gender stereotyping and bullying.