On 19 April 2016, we held the latest instalment of our round-table forums on policy priorities.
Following on from the highly successful "Pizza & Politics" night in February, The Tale of India restaurant hosted our "Poppadom & Politics" night, focusing on diversity within the local party. The importance of discussing this issue was apparent from the outset, given the composition of the attendees - 100% white and 90% male. But this certainly didn't preclude a lively and informed discussion on what our diversity priorities should be and how we should go about improving diversity within the local party.
The discussion inevitably began with ideas around how to improve engagement with local communities, including efforts to increase the amount of multilingual literature available to our activists, participation in local community events and a more proactive effort to develop the relationships established during the "Visit My Mosque" open-days. However, there was also a consensus that as we live in such a multicultural area, rather than targeting individual groups we should stress the broader vision of the Liberal Democrats, which has resonance with all groups in City & East.
The discussion then moved on to gender diversity and the reasons for under-representation of women within the local party. Attendees shared their experiences of workplace schemes to support women and promote female role models and diversity champions, with a view to possible implementation of similar initiatives within the local party. Ideas included women-only seminars/events, child-friendly socials and a more conscious effort to ensure that campaigning and social activities aren't limited to evenings and weekends.
Overall, the event was a huge success and has provided considerable food for thought on how to deal with the diversity deficit within the local party. We'll be taking each of these issues forward over the coming weeks and months, so if this issue is important to you, but you were unable to attend our "Poppadom & Politics night", please feel free to get in touch!