Monday 27-04-2015 - 13:26
Want to keep on track of what’s been said by the political parties about liberation and what it means for students?
We've analysed the political parties' General Election manifestos to you don't have to. This handy cheat sheet focuses on the policies relating to liberation, looking at some of the main promises made so far…
In terms of having a clear Equality and Diversity strategy within primary and secondary education, the Green Party has the most to offer. They want to make Equality and Diversity lessons mandatory in all schools, from the first year of primary education onwards to ‘combat prejudice and bullying’ including specifically homophobic and transphobic bullying. Supporting their equality strategy is a plan to introduce compulsory and age appropriate sex and relationship education providing information on consent so important for tackling sexual harassment and violence. They also talk about the need for SRE to be LGBT inclusive.
Like the Green Party, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have in their manifestos a commitment to ensure age appropriate SRE is made statutory, although they are less committed to embedding equality and diversity across the curriculum. Labour has also included in its manifesto the need to encourage all schools to embed character education across the curriculum to stop homophobic bullying. While both the Lib Dems and Conservatives have a statement on tackling bullying in their manifesto, there is little policy outlined for how they would deal with this in practice.
Within HE, Labour have been vocal opponents to the proposed changes to Disabled Student’s Allowance and stated that they want to see further changes to DSA halted whilst the necessary consultations take place. Similarly, Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion for the Green Party has in the past supported the need for a review of the current proposals. Most recently, the Lib Dems have outlined in their manifesto that they would maintain DSA and review the impact of any changes to it. The Conservatives are most likely to support the current reforms, although they have postponed the changes to DSA until 2016/17 and this is now subject to an ongoing consultation.
Looking beyond the education sector, it is clear the Conservatives have the least to offer in terms of promoting equality for disadvantaged groups more broadly. Significantly, they seek to scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Court of Human Rights – setting up their own ‘British Bill of Rights’. This could significantly weaken the current protections in place for women, black, LGBT and disabled people. Labour and the Lib Dems have both opposed this in their manifestos. In addition, both the Greens and the Lib Dems have stated that they would want to see a review of the 12 month blood donation deferral period for gay or bisexual men.
Both the Greens and Lib Dems have said they will restrict or provide more safeguards for police use of stop and search but it is unclear what this means in practice. Labour have similarly have said they would be open to reforms to the system. The Conservatives have stated in their manifesto that they will ‘legislate to mandate change in police practices if stop and search does not become more targeted and stop to arrest rations do not improve.’ At the very least this will mean the current system will be maintained for the short term and at worst could mean police face further pressure to arrest those they stop.
All parties have a strong commitment to tackling violence against women. However, this commitment is not always backed up by strong educational policy effective for tackling sexual harassment, assault and violence. The Greens, Lib Dems and Labour have all pledged in their manifestos to make age- appropriate SRE a compulsory part of the curriculum in primary and secondary school where themes around respect and sexual consent are taught. There is no such commitment from the Conservative Party.
Want to learn more about how the main manifesto promises relating to work, community and liberation? Download our bumper General Election party manifesto cheat sheet now!