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What impact will your manifesto really have on equality?

Rebecca Marek - December 2015

Equality is an ideal often spoken about in Scottish politics, with most political parties espousing equality in their rhetoric and advocating the advancement of equality, the elimination of discrimination, and the development of a fairer Scotland for all.

However, we know that in practice, this is not always the case. Manifesto commitments, political proposals, government policies, and legislation at times leaves groups with protected characteristics disadvantaged, acknowledges the needs of one equality group while overlooking the needs of others, or misses opportunities to progress a wider equality agenda.

And so, as we approach the 2016 Holyrood Elections, CRER is asking all political parties in Scotland to consider undertaking a (voluntary) Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) of their manifestos.

An EqIA is a systematic approach to examining the aims and outcomes of policy proposals to anticipate the likely impact of the proposals on people from all protected characteristics. It identifies who the proposals will benefit, determines whether there is any negative impact on groups with protected characteristics, and analyses whether is there is a disparate impact on any one group in particular. 

CRER believes that if achieving equality is a priority for political parties during the term of the next Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, significant consideration must be given to the aims and possible effects of manifesto proposals. Undertaking an EqIA would assist political parties in identifying the impact of their proposals on groups with protected characteristics, and demonstrate that parties are being conscientious and intentional about equality.

It’s not enough for parties to incorporate the word “equality” into their manifesto, nor is it enough to address one type of equality and ignore the rest. It’s also not enough to have a manifesto section on equality, when other sections include proposals that will likely lead to further inequality. Rather, the principle of equality should be mainstreamed throughout manifestos, and proposals should be assessed before they become commitments of the next government and parliament. 

If parties want to prove that they are serious about achieving equality – not just speaking about equality – this is a good place to start. Equality in Scotland, after all, has to matter past 5th May 2016. Why not demonstrate that commitment now? 

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Tagged in: CRER Equalities
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'I don’t want to make a fuss, I just want to ignore it.’
 

Everyday Racism
by Zandra Yeaman

Recent news has once again highlighted the issues of racism in Scotland and has led to some Facebook friends having to use their click power to unfriend people they have decided are racist.

The fear of being called racist has put many on the defensive. But as a colleague of mine pointed out, ‘being called “racist” is not an insult. It’s an adjective to describe something which prioritises the importance and value of one ethnic group’s identity, appearance, culture or way of life over others. It’s the assumption that your cultural viewpoint is the right way, the best way – everything else is an anomaly, to be tolerated at best and eradicated at worst.’ (http://www.crer.org.uk/crerblog?start=20)

Most people seem to think of racism in its extreme forms of a white person physically attacking a black person, or in overt forms such as a banana being thrown at a black footballer. However every day racism not only includes these forms of oppression but also racist practice that goes unnoticed but is nonetheless still felt strongly by Black Minority Ethnic (BME) people on a daily basis.

Despite BME people living with the anticipation that racial discrimination can (even will) happen, and this in itself is stressful, what is usually forgotten is that most BME people are not overly sensitive to racial discrimination; in fact many are reluctant to label behaviour as racist before giving the situation serious consideration.  No one wants to feel humiliated because of who they are or because of the colour of their skin.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider some examples of what everyday racism looks like:

Politicians make discriminatory statements such as ‘British jobs for British workers’;

Daily Mail cartoon depicting black people in the jungle along with a headline “‘Am I Black?’ asks Tom Jones”.

Teachers sharing Britain First posts with racist sentiments with their classes;

White people rolling their eyes at yet another challenge to their racist joke (and then complaining ‘you can’t say anything these days without the fear of being accused as racist’);

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