Unacceptable levels of racism towards London’s black and minority ethnic population could start to be addressed with a new British slavery museum to commemorate the country’s colonial past, according to a new Fabian Society report.
Capital Gains presents proposals to Sadiq Khan for his second term as London mayor, in a city which now has 3.5 million black and minority ethnic residents. The report argues that Londoners from BAME backgrounds continue to face racial discrimination because of centuries-old tropes about racial inferiority.
The report’s chapter on race equality by Omar Khan (Runnymede) argues that present day racial attitudes are connected to a lack of public acknowledgement of Britain’s legacy of colonialism. He writes: “Until and unless Britain comes to terms with this history it will be impossible to understand much less eradicate the views that continue to justify racial inequalities today.”
The report says:
- The mayor of London should work with affected communities to commission a significant new museum to educate Londoners about slavery
- The UK government and London’s financial sector have a moral obligation to assist with funding the museum
In response to the proposal Sadiq Khan said:
“It’s right and fair that all Londoners see themselves and their history reflected in our city’s museums and cultural institutions. Learning more about the uncomfortable nature of our city and our nation’s role in the transatlantic slave trade can serve to deepen our understanding of the past and strengthen our commitment to fight racism and hatred in all its forms. Omar Khan’s idea for a slavery museum in London is both welcome and timely.”
Capital Gains is published by the Fabian Society with financial support from the City of London Corporation. Sadiq Khan introduces the report and praises the contributions which are intended to feed into the mayor’s policy thinking ahead of his bid for re-election in 2020. The report brings together 15 policymakers and MPs including Karen Buck MP, Sarah Jones MP, David Lindo (environmentalist), Madani Younis (creative director of the Southbank Centre), and Frances O’Grady (general secretary of the TUC).
Other recommendations include:
– Tony Travers (LSE) calls for London to be given more devolved powers and control in line with the powers available in Scotland and Wales.
– Miatta Fahnbulleh (New Economics Foundation) argues the next London government needs to create an economy that works for everyone by using local procurement and investment powers.
– Sarah Jones MP sets out a 10-year plan to tackle violent crime through funding more community police, increasing understanding of child and adolescent development, and improving school education on life skills, identity and healthy relationships.
– Karen Buck MP sets out plans to introduce rent controls and fairer, more secure tenancy agreements for renters.
– David Lindo (environmentalist) argues Londoners should live within 1000 meters of green space.
Omar Khan, director of Runnymede, said:
“It is unacceptable that the capital city of a nation that built a global empire in large part as a result of its role in the slave trade has no significant museum or monument marking the role that London and Britain played in these historic atrocities. This is something that the mayor of London could address to ensure that a significant new memorial is built in London.”
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London said:
“Whether it’s starting to build record numbers of council houses or introducing the boldest plans of any major city to tackle air pollution, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to make London a city that works for everyone regardless of their wealth and background. But I’m restless in my pursuit of new ideas to make London an even better place to live, work and play and I welcome the contributions from the authors of this Fabian pamphlet to the debate about the future of London.”
- Contact: Rabyah Khan, media and communications manager at the Fabian Society
0207 227 4906 | 07888861096 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Capital Gains is available here.
- Capital Gains has been published by the Fabian Society in partnership with the City of London.
- Sadiq Khan is a former chair of the Fabian Society and used a previous Fabian Society report Our London(2013) to set out an agenda for the capital prior to his selection as mayor of London.
- This report represents not the collective views of the organisations involved but only the views of the individual authors.
- Fabian Society staff are available for interview.
- The full list of contributors to this report is: Claire Bennie, David Buck, Karen Buck, Miatta Fahnbulleh, Sam Gurney, Adam Harrison, Sarah Jones MP, Omar Khan, Sadiq Khan, David Lindo, Catherine McGuiness, Jo Negrini, Frances O’Grady, Anna Powell-Smith, Tony Travers, and Madani Younis.
- The Fabian Society is Britain’s oldest political think tank. Founded in 1884, the Society is at the forefront of developing political ideas and public policy on the left. The society is alone among think tanks in being a democratically-constituted membership organisation, with over 7,000 members. It is constitutionally affiliated to the Labour party.
- The City of London Corporation is the local authority for the Square Mile and is dedicated to a thriving City supporting a strong and diverse London within a prospering nation.