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Article on BAME voters

June 16, 2016

I have written an article for this month's Progress magazine - Taken for granted: Why is Labour losing BAME voters to the Tories?

 

At 2015 General Election the proportion of black and minority ethnic voters supporting the Conservatives doubled whilst Labour's share declined from 68% to 52%. Such a direct shift in the allegiances of one of Labour's most loyal electoral assets should surely set alarm bells ringing but relatively little attention has been paid to this worrying trend.

 

I argued that in the mid-to-late 20th century the support of ethnic minority voters was virtually assured thanks to the work of Labour governments in passing legislation that advanced and protected minority rights, but today the picture is a lot more complicated and to keep up Labour has to move beyond a narrow understanding of 'community' politics that worked in the 1970s and 1980s:

 

"Where ethnic minority voters were once mostly first- or second-generation immigrants, often struggling to get by and living in urban areas, today ethnic minority voters are moving out of traditionally more diverse urban areas and have become more socially mobile and aspirational.

 

We need to address the issue sooner rather than later, as ethnic minority voters are going to play an increasingly significant role and are likely to comprise one-fifth of the electorate by 2020.

 

As a progressive party we should be thankful that the undignified and divisive politics of old are clearly no longer effective campaigning tools.

 

But Labour needs to do much better in responding to the aspirations and hopes of minority communities if we are to stem the flow of minority voters abandoning us for the Tories."

 

 

 

 

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David Lammy

From Tottenham. For Tottenham.