Liberal Democrats

F15: Combatting Racism


Conference notes that:

  1. Negative campaigning over the past twenty years on the issue of race relations and immigration, previously the province of the far right, has become ever more mainstream.
  2. Racist and extremist ideas often go unchallenged in political discourse due to a failure of both politicians and journalists to challenge these ideas.
  3. Far-right populists and their supporters routinely engage in physical attacks on others, especially against ethnic minorities and LGBT+ people.
  4. There has recently been a visible and worrying upsurge in extremist attacks, especially during the European Union referendum campaign, including the assassination of the Labour MP Jo Cox, and a significant increase in racist hate crime following the vote.
  5. Communities across Europe are seeing the same phenomenon, especially in France, Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary, where far right populists and nationalists are enjoying unprecedented electoral success off the back of attacking ethnic minority communities.

Conference believes that:

  1. Racism is fundamentally illiberal, wrong, and has no place in liberal society.
  2. Extremist populism presents a very real threat to our multicultural society.
  3. Mainstream parties adopting populist rhetoric, such as Labour's promise of "controls on immigration" during the 2015 election, does not do anything except provide legitimacy to nationalists and racists.
  4. Political parties and movements, especially those including liberals and social democrats, have a responsibility to ensure that racist and extremist views do not take hold either within their own organisations or in wider society.
  5. Newcomers to the UK make a positive contribution to our economy, our public services and our culture.
  6. We as a liberal party should stand shoulder to shoulder with France and Belgium but deplore moves in France to ban Muslim women from wearing burkas and burkinis, and that people must have the freedom to wear what they want.
  7. Local authorities and democratically elected councillors have a strong role to play in bringing people together by working with their communities to stand up to racism, create community cohesion and share good practice.
  8. Combatting racism and far-right populism must include properly funded and supported community outreach programmes.

Conference resolves:

  1. That the party and its members should take all steps to combat the spread of racism and extremist populism.
  2. That the party takes steps to enshrine its opposition to racism, nationalism and the far right explicitly in its core principles.
  3. To make no compromise with racist, nationalist and far right ideas, and continue our proud tradition of creating evidence-based liberal policy.
  4. To work with liberal, anti-racist, and anti-fascist groups to combat the tide of extremism, violent populism, and nationalism that is rising across Europe.
  5. Hate and prejudice should not be encouraged by any government's policy and, therefore, people should have the freedom to wear any religious dress they want and citizens of any social, cultural background or orientation should not face prejudice for the clothes they decide to wear.

Applicability: Federal.

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