I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of trying to explain to Lib Dems why I am unhappy. To loosely quote Game of Thrones “Winter is coming and the kingdom is busy with a civil war”. Instead I’m going to write this as if I’m giving a conference speech. This tends to be the only thing politics cares about these days. Conference I am appalled. I have personal anecdotes to tell you about which will make you as appalled as I am and then you will give me a standing ovation and vote for me.
I often joke about various reasons why I became politically active but my secret reason was so that people with my background, young Asian women, could gain equality in a society rife with racial bias and unspoken prejudice. I kept this quiet to not be another token in the party to collect. Today forced marriages became illegal. It is 2014 and today forced marriages became illegal. Why? Because Asian women (who tend to be most affected by forced marriages) are not in positions of power. There is one prominent Asian women in politics and I get told regularly that I look like her, sound like her, that I’m waiting for the party to give me a peerage to become another Baroness Rent-A-Quote on Question Time. I can count the amount of prominent Asian women in the media on my fingers. I have never had political ambitions but in the last few months I have become more enraged with the way in which politicians flaunt immigration policy and the effects it has on people of my background. Recently I’ve wanted to become a parliamentarian to change things but I know my background will always be a barrier.
I have stopped canvassing. I can no longer stand on a stranger’s doorstep to have them look at me with disgust and tell me about the various ways in which they hate people of colour. That too many p***s are in their country and now they have to deal with the influx of dirty Europeans too. I continued being a loyal Lib Dem foot soldier and delivered leaflets but damaged my knees thanks to overzealous local parties who didn’t think a young person deserved a break after 17 hours on a cramped megabus and 7 hours straight walking uphill. In fact, most didn’t bother to say thank you and instead made me hate myself that I wasn’t out on the doorstep taking racist abuse. As if being young and a confident orator is a ticket to racial abuse. The guilt trips were not pleasant and in the Euro elections this year I did nothing. I had no motivation to journey somewhere afar on doorsteps for 8 hours, only to be told all immigrants are scum and not get a thank you at the end of it.
I am member of this party to give a voice to people of my background and make this country a fairer country. But trying to discuss BME voting patterns and diversity in this party at its best demonstrates colour-blinded ignorance, at its worst it radiates vile racism. I have heard more than one member of more than one local party open up their mouth with racism. I have heard countless people say that they won’t select a woman or ethnic minority in a target area because it will hurt their electoral chances. I’ve also heard other people say that I am racist for suggesting that local parties don’t select ethnic minority candidates. I have come to the realisation at the ripe age of 24 that there are parts of our society that will never be able to see past my skin colour and gender. It makes it pretty difficult to digest when you’re constantly told as a child that you can be whatever you want to be.
The irritating thing is that I can’t discuss this with colleagues in the party because they think I’m overreacting when voters tell me “f*** off p***”. Members of our party have no idea what goes on in parts of the country which aren’t their own suburban middle class white havens. There is more hostility in our party towards people who dare to speak up about racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism. People are ready to jump up and say “I have a ___ friend who says this isn’t a problem”. We as a party prefer to stay in our comfort zones and only canvass and recruit other middle class white people. There is no appetite, at least at a local party level, to really change society for the better. I also know it’s the same in other parties. Racial bias and unspoken prejudice is in every pocket of society and every party.
This is the other infuriating part of our party. The thing which really riles up the membership is not societal inequality or prejudice, but it’s which definition of “liberalism” one adheres to. I no longer feel welcome in a party in which people are waiting to cull the “rabid Tories” such as myself who believe in a small state. The amount of abuse Jeremy Browne received for writing a book with his political views was shocking, despite anyone bothering to read the book! I totally empathise that the left/right abuse is on both sides but there is no interest in this party to get together and tackle the real issues of societal inequality.
The vast majority of the Liberal Democrat membership prefers to sit around with other middle class white men and discuss the days of Torbay Liberal conference in 1974 when there were “true liberals”. I’m sorry to say, Britain has changed substantially since 1974. The majority of the population don’t give a shit about what “liberalism” means and which middle class white man we elect as leader. Can we please get together and remember who the real enemies are?
Right now I don’t know whether I should stay in this party or politics at all because it’s hate on the doorstep for having a different skin colour, and hate in the Lib Dems for having different political views. I no longer have patience for either. I no longer know what I’m fighting for because it’s increasingly unlikely that this party will recruit more BME people, let alone elect them. What is honestly the point of politics anymore? It’s not to bring about change. It’s solely philosophical circle jerking reserved for rich white men.
Edit: To clarify I’m not joining elsewhere. The title was mostly click bait. I have no problems with the leadership and the party. I’ve recently become apathetic because I think all political party membership is far too focused on outdated ideologies than 21st century application. As well as our party colliding in civil war. I wanted Lib Dem members to read this and remember that it’s bloody important to eradicate racism. Diversity is a MUCH bigger issue than the definition of liberalism. Hopefully I’ve explained why above.