Ethnic Minority Vote Stronger Than Ever But Massively Undervalued By Main Parties

Jan 12, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research just published by Professor Muhammad Anwar, from The University of Warwick’s Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations, shows that ethnic minority votes will be more important than ever in the forthcoming general election but ethnic minority voters are still massively undervalued and under-represented.

In his new book, Ethnic Minorities and Politics Professor Anwar notes that ethnic minorities voter registration is approaching levels of white voters and turnout is now higher than the national average. In the last general election the national average turnout was 61.4% yet for Bangladeshi voters it was 76% , Pakistanis 70% and Indians 67%. Black Africans matched the national average at 61% and only Black Caribbean voters were lower at 54%.

Professor Anwar says:

“Our research shows that the higher levels of turn-out among Asians and particularly Muslim groups are likely to continue in future. Since, in recent years, Muslims in Britain and elsewhere have become a focus of attention for politicians and the media, Muslims themselves have become more conscious of their rights and responsibilities as British citizens, including participation in the electoral process.”

He also notes that although nationally ethnic minorities are 10% of the population, there are actually 25 parliamentary constituencies where over 40% of the population were categorised as being from an ethnic minority in the 2001 census. These include: East Harrow 66.3%, Birmingham Ladywood 64.9%, Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath 64.8%, and Brent South 64.6% - full table in notes for editors below .

Professor Anwar is concerned however that while ethnic minorities are 10% of the UK population, the total number of ethnic minority origin MPs does not reflect that. To do so there should be over 60 MPs of ethnic minority origin when there are only 15. The ethnic minority representation in the House of Lords is over 30 although to reflect the population it should be over 70. Professor Anwar believes that this balance is unlikely to shift - particularly for Muslim minorities. He does note that at least Labour has selected three Muslim women for safe seats at the next general election but that the other parties have not selected Muslims for safe seats.

Professor Anwar argues that the shift in Muslim support from Labour to the Liberal Democrats caused by the Iraq war remains an important factor. He notes that many members and councillors defected from Labour to the Liberals between 2003 and 2007 and as a result many ex-Labour councillors represent the Liberal Democrats in places like Birmingham. Professor Anwar says his research indicates that that pattern is likely to continue into the next general election. It is clear however that the Labour Party are working hard to try and reverse this.

Finally Professor Anwar stresses:

“The effective representation of ethnic minorities in politics is crucial to the achievement of equality of opportunity across our society. There has been some progress but Britain has a long way to go in providing equality for ethnic minorities in the decision making process.”

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

More information: Details on book: The book is entitled Ethnic Minorities and Politics: The British Electoral System by Muhammad Anwar, published by : LAP Lambert Academic Publishing
ISBN-10: 383831901X, ISBN-13: 978-3838319018

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Race bigotry falling in Britain

Nov 24, 2008

Racial prejudice in Britain has been declining sharply in Britain since the 1980s thanks to the greater tolerance of younger generations - according to a new study.

Diversity in primary schools promotes harmony

Jul 24, 2008

For the first time, children as young as 5 have been shown to understand issues regarding integration and separation. The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), confirms that the ethnic composition ...

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

22 hours ago

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2010
In the uSA one party is well aware of the minority groups and does it's best to keep them (thinking they are) victims of injustice so they will remain voting for that party. The other party thinks that is immoral and reprehensible and will not stoop to that level of behaviour.
croghan26
not rated yet Jan 13, 2010
I recall a study (from Canada) that implied that immigrants usually voted for the party in power (actually for the Party that was headed by the PM in office) at the time of their arrival.

If a Conservative PM was in office, they voted Con ... if a Liberal - they voted Liberal. (in Canada these are actual party names as well as labels). Their loyality was in a person and only by extension to the Party.