Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nick Clegg - 150% RIGHT!!!!

I have to confess that I have not been best pleased with Nick's public musings on tax. I knew this was something we were unlikely to ever agree on, although I hadn't expected it to be elevated to such a defining issue for those of us who regard tax as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. So credit IN SPADES where it is due. Today Nick has announced the appointment of two new advisers, Fiyaz Mughal and Meral Ece. Both are well known in the party, both London councillors, Meral was a candidate in the GLA elections and Fiyaz stood as our candidate for London mayor. Both have contributed enormously to the party over the years and each has their own particular expertise that will be invaluable to Nick and the wider party. Nick has clearly put his money where his mouth is, diversity in the party as far as I am concerned is one of our MOST pressing issues. Fiyaz and Meral are well placed to ensure we actually begin to make progress. Here is the press release in full: Nick Clegg announces new BME advisors Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today announced the appointment of two personal advisers on black and minority ethnic issues. These appointments are part of Nick Clegg’s commitment to build even greater links with the UK’s minority communities. The new team will engage with minority groups on a variety of issues, and will report their concerns directly to Nick Clegg, as well as to other senior party figures. The two new advisors are: · Cllr Meral Ece, who has been appointed the Leader’s Adviser on Community Cohesion (Ethnic Minority Communities and Minority Rights) · Cllr Fiyaz Mughal, who has become the Leader’s Adviser for Interfaith Work and Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism Commenting, Nick Clegg said: “I am proud of the links that already exist between the Liberal Democrats and minority groups across Britain. However, I am very conscious that we have to do more to engage with minority communities and this team will help us do that. “For over a decade, Labour’s clumsy and heavy-handed approach to issues such as immigration, detention without trial and income inequality has alienated minority communities. “Meanwhile, it seems clear that David Cameron’s Tories are still set on blaming struggling families for their problems rather then helping them. “I know from travelling around the country that there are so many members of minority ethnic communities who share Liberal Democrat values, and I’m delighted to have such a talented group focusing on the crucial issues which affect them.” Liberal Democrat Leader’s Adviser for Community Cohesion, Meral Ece, said: “Nick Clegg is committed to making the Liberal Democrats far more representative of the communities we serve. “I am very proud of and committed to supporting those efforts, using my experience of working for many years with ethnic minorities in the inner cities. “The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have the vision to take community cohesion seriously, by taking the lead on engaging with minority communities.” Leader’s Adviser for Interfaith Work and Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism, Fiyaz Mughal added: “The Liberal Democrats have a vision of community safety and tackling extremism and radicalism which does not isolate certain faith communities, but actively tries to engage with them. “Labelling or isolating communities merely exacerbates feelings of alienation that can feed radicalisation. I am proud of the vision and leadership that Nick and his front-bench team have shown on these issues.” FIYAZ MUGHAL Fiyaz Mughal was part of the Working Groups that made up the Extremism Task Force which was convened by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, after the 7/7 bombings. He is an accredited national Peer Mentor with IDeA on preventing violent extremism. An Oxford City Councillor in 2002-2004, Fiyaz is now a Councillor in the London Borough of Haringey and was also the Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats from 2002-2006. He was also appointed as one of a number of Deputy Presidents for the Liberal Democrats in 2006 and was one of the party’s Prospective London Mayoral candidates in 2007. Fiyaz founded Faith Matters (www.faith-matters.org.uk) in 2004 and works on interfaith, conflict resolution and Preventing Violent Extremism programmes within faith communities in the UK and internationally. MERAL ECE Born in London, Meral Ece is second generation Turkish/Turkish Cypriot. A community activist and a much respected and high profile figure in the Turkish speaking communities in the UK, Meral was one of the first women from her community to be elected as a local councillor. She served 8 years as a councillor in Hackney, and has been a councillor in Islington since 2002, where she was Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care between 2002 and 2006, and is currently the Chair of the council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee. Meral is Chair of the Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats, and is a member of the Liberal Democrats Federal Executive Committee. She currently works as a consultant working with charities and local government. In May 2008, Meral was appointed by Minister for Equalities, Harriet Harman MP to the Government's Taskforce for increasing the number of ethnic minority women councillors across the UK.

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