Liberal Democrat council candidates Julia Ogiehor (Haringey) and Melissa Gordon (Southwark) are two of the seven hosts of the new Consensus politics podcast.
All seven are female and black or mixed-race. They come from a variety of political backgrounds and their aim is to help get more young people engaged with party politics.
While Labour’s share of the black and ethnic minority vote increased to 65% at the 2017 general election, members of a soon to be launched political podcast say there’s anecdotal evidence that younger people are expanding their political allegiances. Many, they say, are questioning whether they are loyal to Labour because they share the party’s values, or because they are simply doing what their parents and grandparents did.
It is frank conversations like this that Consensus, hosted by seven black and mixed-race women who are involved in political parties across the spectrum, plans to address. The women say they are putting party politics aside to help engage young people in the democratic process.
As Julia Ogiehor explained, that assumption that black must mean Labour is widely held:
Julia Ogiehor, a 31-year-old Liberal Democrat, said she received abuse from black Labour supporters who were surprised when she told them that she doesn’t vote Labour. She recalled being at the 2017 general election count in north London when a black Labour supporter approached her to celebrate Tottenham MP David Lammy’s increased majority. After revealing that she was a Lib Dem, she said she was told that “they’re not a party for people like us”.
“You get that all the time,” Ogiehor told BuzzFeed News. “On the doorstep they’ll say, ‘Why are you not Labour? What’s wrong with you?'”
Melissa Gordon added:
We’re all wonderful women who have come together to say that we’re sick of being sidelined and being treated as a token. Even though we all know that we’re capable, there is still always that little thing in the back of your mind – is this a photo shoot? Is there someone ticking all the boxes for diversity? The fact that we’re here on our own terms, talking about things on our own terms, is just so empowering.
The first episode is due out April 15th:
UPDATE: It is indeed.