READY FOR CHANGE: Rashid Nix, is standing as the Green Party candidate in Dulwich & West Norwood
WHY DON'T Black People Vote (WDBPV), as contentious as it sounds, is the name of my 2010 film, which explores the incredibly low voter rates within the UK’s black community.
It was shot on location in Brixton, south London, chosen for three distinct reasons; firstly, Brixton had one of the lowest voter turnouts. Secondly, the black community was the most eclectic with people from Caribbean, Africa and homegrown. And thirdly, it was the place that I called home for many years so I didn’t have to travel far to find my subjects.
The film uncovered myriad social problems combining to produce a perfect storm of community disengagement.
Another crucial point unearthed in the film was the lack of real black political leadership to inspire the black community to take the necessary steps to affect change.
With this in mind I attended the recent Caribbean Question Time event at Westminster to see what was being served up on the political menu.
The three candidates answered the question my film posed five years previously by their (lack of) actions. I don’t think I have ever been to an event where the audience were so keen to have their concerns heard and have their questions answered.
Unfortunately, the three panelists - with the exception of Doreen Lawrence - left the audience, cold.
Was this the best on offer? After a near 70-year sojourn none of the politicians was either honest or bold enough to answer questions ranging from education to policing.
These were not trick questions being posed; if a black politician cannot call out the Met Police for being racist (sitting on a panel with Baroness Lawrence) we, as a community, face fundamental issues with those who want to lead us.
If a black politician is courting Caribbean voters but cannot speak on the thorny issue of Caribbean students without referring to them as cash cows or over-staying immigrants is it any wonder WBPDV?
It is this lack of imagination, ideological conviction and straight up swagger to inspire, that left the audience of 400 feeling thoroughly let down.
The great Bernie Grant must have looked down from above at these political hucksters vying to inherit his legacy and mourned his own passing!
I became increasingly disillusioned years ago with who was going to get my hard-earned vote. And as my knowledge of Brixton’s community affairs increased my faith in Labour decreased exponentially, that’s what led me to vote Green and then stand as a candidate.
In regards to fundamental political issues of education, employment and housing check out the Green agenda. (Take a look at the Vote for Policies online political survey.You’ll be surprised.)
Recently, Caribbean heads of state put the reparations issue forward - but how many of the panel knew that or even support it? A Public Service Announcement: Greens were pushing reparations at an EU level several years ago.
So, I was in stitches when OBV attacked the Greens for having less black candidates than UKIP! Especially, when the Greens are the only party looking to renegotiate the trade agreements between the west and Africa and Caribbean nations, which leave our mother countries impoverished.
There is still much work to be done, but when Greens can attract candidates of the caliber of Sara Myers (of Human Zoo protests) it’s time to take note. She is worth the three panelists combined based purely upon the strength of her ideological convictions. Black people love a fighter. Britain is a more separate and unequal society than at any time during it’s recent history and unfortunately, our communities have disproportionately borne the brunt of ill thought out policies. But who represents us? Brixton, like other communities, is now being carved up by developers with the help of elected officials, with the people powerless to resist.
Insanity, according to Einstein, is doing the same thing continually but expecting a different result. So let 2015 signal the point when we, as a community, begin our healing process by developing political maturity and doing something radically different.
We are the trendsetters. We are the future but our time is now.
* Rashid Nix, is standing as the Green Party candidate in Dulwich & West Norwood