MY PLEDGE TO YOU: Ed Miliband speaking at an event in Croydon last week
LABOUR LEADER Ed Miliband is promising to implement a raft of far-reaching measures that are expected to address a range of issues that affect the black and minority ethnic (BME) community including health, education and housing.
Speaking at a Black History Month event organised by the Croydon BME Forum and Operation Black Vote last Thursday, the prospective British prime minister outlined a radical strategy for delivering racial equality that he said would be implemented in every government department if his party wins next year’s general election.
Miliband promised to “attack the banks” and use the money to guarantee every young person, who has been unemployed for more than a year, a job. He also pledged to force “those with the biggest shoulders” to “bear the biggest burdens”.
He told the packed room at Croydon Town Hall that he will “reverse the huge tax cuts” that millionaires were given under the Tories.
He added: “We are going to abolish the most iniquitous, unfair tax that has been introduced into this country since the poll tax, and that is the bedroom tax.”
But the Labour leader’s tough talk and wide-reaching promises appeared to have left some voters unconvinced. One sceptical resident remarked that politicians “seem to talk a good game, make promises” then fail to deliver.
Undeterred, Miliband promised not to do ‘a Nick Clegg’. He pledged to “absolutely deliver” and not “say one thing in opposition and then… disappear and hope you don’t catch up with me when I get into power.”
Urging the community to hold him to his word, he said: “When you look at racial injustice it covers every department and every walk of life. That is why I am committing today, in front of you as my witnesses, to saying in the first year of a Labour government elected in May 2015, we will implement across every single government department, a strategy for delivering racial equality.
“Why is that important?” he asked. “Because it covers everything from diversity in the civil service, in the judiciary, in the public sector - where we have miles to go and it is totally inadequate - and the reform of stop and search where there are huge concerns.”
The initiative will also tackle concerns around education, health, lack of diversity in senior management in the private and public sectors, and a range of other issues that specifically affect the black community.
The leader explained that the decisive measures were influenced by the Realising One Nation: Developing a New Race Equality Strategy for Labour Consultation, which is part of the party’s policy review on race equality.
Speaking to The Voice after the event, he said: “I think you are reminded that there are huge issues of injustices that the black community faces, and it is really important that we tackle them. Our strategy on putting race equality at the heart of the government is really important, because it is going to look across every government department and say ‘right, what are the issues here? How do we tackle this and make every government department step up to the mark on race equality?’”
He added: “I don’t think it has ever been done before in that way.”
Miliband insisted that Labour “will win the next election” when The Voice pressed him on his party’s chances after the latest opinion poll from YouGov put them and the Tories neck-and-neck with 34 per cent.
He added: “Absolutely – that is what we are going to do, fundamentally because most people think the country is not working for them and it’s got to change, and we offer that change.”