June 2019 marks the first ever national Windrush Day, aimed to help remember those who arrived in the UK on HMS Windrush on 22 June 1948. As Lib Dems, we called on the government to recognise 22 June as National Windrush Day in 2018 and Lib Dem Peer, Floella Benjamin has been leading the charge to have a memorial installed in London Waterloo station. She has also released a podcast, From the Heart, to share her own experiences arriving as one of the Windrush generation and her subsequent life in Britain.
A day honouring the Windrush arrivals is vital to counter the negative and devastating effects of the Conservative ‘hostile environment’ and the systematic victimisation of a whole generation, as seen in the Windrush scandal. Windrush citizens like Floella have lived here for decades, working, raising families and making a positive contribution to British society. Their generation answered the call to help address the UK’s post-WW2 labour shortage, yet many in the UK know nothing of that legacy.
As Vince Cable explained to Black History Month: “Our National Health Service is undeniably our greatest national treasure, yet its establishment and development would not have been possible without the Windrush Generation. The arrival of Caribbean migrants at the point of our greatest need, not only built our public services but supplied much needed labour in sectors such as construction and agriculture. Yet, despite coming here by invitation, many were sadly victims of racism and discrimination and as the years have rolled by their contributions to British history have often been side-lined and overlooked.”
We hope that official recognition of a National Windrush Day will send out a message that diverse communities are to be celebrated for their enrichment of British culture and society.
This month is Pride month, an opportunity to celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, but also to shine a light on the continuing injustices for LGBT+ community.
In Waltham Forest, we have a great opportunity to celebrate LGBT+ diversity through our unique position as the first London Borough of Culture. Throughout the year, music, culture and art will bring together the community not just for Pride month but for the whole year.
We know how important services like the East London Out Project are for supporting LGBT+ communities in our borough, and are proud that places like Leytonstone United Free Church led the way by being the first church in Waltham Forest to host same sex marriages in 2014.
However, as you may have seen, discrimination is still a daily reality for many as the recent attack on a same-sex couple on a London bus shows. Further still, same-sex couples in Northern Ireland are still denied the same rights as others in the UK by not being allowed to marry.
Liberal Democrats have always been clear that LGBT+ rights are human rights and that these rights are at the core of who we are as a party. It is why we pushed forward the amendment to repeal Section 28, it is why we legislated for same-sex marriage in the coaltion government, and it is why we are now continuing to campaign for same-sex marriage to be expanded to Northern Ireland.
Last year, the Lib Dem MP Layla Moran co-sponsored a Bill in Parliament that would bring same-sex marriage laws in Northern Ireland in line with those in England, Wales, and Scotland.
We are proud to be in a party that has been unequivocal in our support for equality and regardless of who wins our leadership battle, unlike the Conservatives, we know that equality will remain at the top of our agenda.
This Pride month, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, celebrate our sexual and gender diversity, but please join us in tackling discrimination and prejudice wherever it exists.
If you identify or experience an issue of discrimination, whether for your sexual orientation, gender or otherwise - please let us know so can support you.
With their party’s popularity growing rapidly following the European and local elections, members of the Liberal Democrats in Redbridge and Waltham Forest have selected Dr Geoffrey Seeff as their prospective candidate for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency. Woodford resident Dr Seeff is a long time campaigner for the Liberal Democrats and stood as a candidate in the constituency in 1997 and 2010.
Speaking to the members after his selection, Geoff reminded them that Chingford and Woodford Green voted to remain in Europe in 2016. He argued that the Lib Dem’s unequivocal message to call for a properly informed and fair second referendum and to campaign to revoke Article 50 had resonated with a substantial proportion of the electorate and it was evident that many "leavers" had changed their minds. He declared himself delighted to have the opportunity to lead the local efforts in the battle against Brexit.
Geoff said: "The nation has been polarised and Parliament paralysed since the ill-conceived and mismanaged referendum took place. Sadly, in the ensuing debate on the outcome, people have lost sight of the vision and values that inspired the founding of the European Union - raising the standard of living of the citizens of all member states and eliminating forever the prospect of war between them. It is apparent to all but the most rabid xenophobes that, having taken advantage of the benefits of open borders, we cannot simply unpick 45 years of political, business, academic and social relationships. Many authorities, including Government departments charged with assessing the impacts, predict that there would be economic chaos and carnage if the UK walked away from our commitments to our European partners without a deal, as threatened by most of the Tory leadership contenders."
Geoff recognises that while Brexit is currently the most critical issue facing politicians, it is not the only one of concern to the public. In order to reinforce the support they are now receiving, Liberal Democrats need to be promoting their distinctive policies on matters including: sustainable development in the context of climate change, preventative medicine and sensitive mental health provision, constitutional reform, including proportional representation, and improving corporate governance, particularly around taxation of digital businesses.
Asked about the chances of success in winning the seat, Geoff was extremely optimistic about his prospects and scathing about both the Tories and Labour. "The Tory party is in complete meltdown, with more positions on Brexit than the Karma Sutra. When a former Deputy Prime Minister votes Lib Dem, a former cabinet minister foretells his party’s extinction and former senior figures join other parties, you know they are in deep trouble. Iain Duncan Smith would recklessly take the UK over the precipice of no deal but constituents realise that it would be they who would suffer the consequences and not him. The pseudo-marxist ideology of Jeremy Corbyn does not sit well with the residents of Chingford and Woodford Green and the only reason that Labour polled strongly in 2017 was that voters erroneously thought the party would strongly oppose Brexit - how disappointed they have been. They won't make that mistake again."
Having lead us to incredible results in the 2019 Local and EU elections, Sir Vince Cable is stepping down as party leader. The race is now on to take up his mantle and lead the Liberal Democrats to further success: stopping Brexit, fighting for liberal values and winning elections.
The two contenders, Jo Swinson and Sir Ed Davey, set out their visions at the London hustings on Friday. The excitement at the event reflected the newfound optimism of a party on the rise: appropriately enough, the sold-out debate was held at a school in Jeremy Corbyn's Islington back yard - a borough that we won in the EU elections only a week ago.
Jo and Ed discussed building on this success to stop Brexit, and spoke passionately about the liberal causes that they would personally emphasise as party leader. Ed outlined the need to "de-carbonise capitalism" to tackle the climate emergency, and pressed the case for an internationalist perspective. Jo stressed the need to focus innovation towards making the economy work for people across society, and to lead the fight against nationalism.
We have two strong candidates, both with impressive track records of fighting for, and advancing, liberal values at Westminster and beyond. It promises to be a close fought contest over the next few weeks; join the Liberal Democrats now to have your say!
Vote before 10pm TODAY
Vote Liberal Democrat to help stop Brexit
✔️ Led the fight to STOP BREXIT for three years - nationwide and in Parliament.
✔️ BIGGEST REMAIN PARTY across the country according to the polls.
✔️ A LIB DEM WIN can force Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to listen on Brexit.
Back the biggest party for remain today
Polling stations are now open for voting in the European elections. You have until 10pm to vote and you do not need to bring your polling card with you.
More and more people across the country are backing the Liberal Democrats TODAY - as the best choice to STOP BREXIT.
Brexit is an embarrassment. Theresa May is trying to deliver a disastrous Brexit that only Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg wanted. Labour and Jeremy Corbyn has aided and abetted her every step if the way.
The Liberal Democrats are the BIGGEST remain party - and have been leading the fight to STOP BREXIT for three years.
Every vote for the Liberal Democrats TODAY will send a strong message to Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to STOP BREXIT.
There's been a clear pattern emerging in recent opinion polls - and it keeps getting better and better for us as time goes on.
Labour is sinking lower and lower - and the Lib Dems are on the up:
The response our campaign is getting makes it clear why this is happening. Labour is a pro-Brexit party, and Remainers have had enough.
They've started attacking us more and more recently. It's pretty obvious that we've got them rattled as we go up and they go down:
But as you can see, it's not exactly working out for them:
To the point that the most recent polls have us in second place above them:
The message is clear - Remainers can't trust Labour. Corbyn wants Brexit. More and more people who want to stay in the EU are switching to the Liberal Democrats as the biggest, strongest Remain party.
We believe that there's no deal better than our membership of the EU. We've been fighting to stop Brexit since the day after the referendum result. And our line is totally clear - every vote for the Lib Dems is a vote to stop Brexit.
We've come a long way since the day after that awful result in 2016. Now, a majority of the public backs our stance of a People's Vote. Politicians from all parties and none have joined our campaign. And on Thursday, we have the chance to send Labour and the Conservatives a message they can't ignore - we want an end to this national embarrassment.
Say you're with us. Pledge your vote to the Lib Dems on Thursday 23rd May and help us stop Brexit.
Liberal Democrats have received a significant boost over the last few days by several high profile politicians from both Labour and the Conservatives.
Former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine announced his intention to vote for the Liberal Democrats in this week's European Parliament election. He said, "I cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for my party when it is myopically focused on forcing through the biggest act of economic self-harm ever undertaken by a democratic government."
Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats had a great start to the local European Election campaign on May 6th. Chair Naomi McCarthy, who lead a team of volunteers handing out leaflets at Leytonstone Tube station, said: "Most people were interested in what we had to say. We are campaigning hard for an Exit from Brexit as we know there is no deal as the good as the one we have now."
Campaigner Arran Angus added: "The Liberal democrats have a clear message. If you want to stop Brexit you should vote Liberal Democrat on the 23rd May. If you want to get involved in the campaign to stop brexit then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org".
We'll be out and about several times before the 23rd, particularly on the weekend. Come and say hi!