Conservatives must do more to demonstrate they’re the party of progress
Governments must chiefly be judged by the merits of their actions, not simply by how they look
The progress the Conservatives have made on race – from the party of Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech to one which elevates talented Conservatives named Kwasi, Kemi, Priti and Rishi – is to be commended. However, governments must chiefly be judged by the merits of their actions, not simply by how they look. Governments, Labour and Conservative, have failed to close Britain’s racial disparities. Labour has been better at talking about race than the Conservatives, and Conservatives Against Racism was established in 2020 to change that. The party has made a lot of progress since 2020: a more respectful position on footballers taking the knee, a landmark Inclusive Britain Strategy to close racial disparities and the most diverse Cabinet and leadership contest in history.
Despite this, too often, politicians can misunderstand the impact of intergenerational trauma on families and the lived experiences of individuals and so dismiss both as “woke”. Young people feel too often they are being talked at, not with. There appears to be a disinterest in tackling or at least having a two-way discussion on some “systemic issues,” particularly in relation to the police. The opposite is true for health care, where medical disparities are rightly being investigated and resolved. Similarly, progress on race, which can be demonstrated by data, is at best poorly communicated. At worst it has been received by younger people in particular as “job done” and self-congratulatory.
It is notable that this government, led by Liz Truss, a former equalities minister, with Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt, themselves former equalities ministers in Cabinet, are yet to publicly commit to Boris Johnson’s Inclusive Britain Strategy. For progress to continue, it is crucial that this government, with Nadhim Zahawi leading on Equalities, picks up where previous work has ended – or more accurately – suspended. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, Liz Truss won the leadership with a pledge to “deliver, deliver, deliver”. Time for this government to commit to delivering Johnson’s Inclusive Britain Strategy, so at the next general election, Conservatives can demonstrate to a growing number of ethnic minority voters in marginal seats that the best way forward is a Conservative one.
Albie Amankona is a financial analyst, political commentator and co-founder of Conservatives Against Racism
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