Marcus Rashford’s victory against the Conservative government on free school meal vouchers is an inspiration for black voters looking to influence parliamentary decisions through the sheer strength of numbers.
Manchester United and England forward, Marcus Rashford has won a sensational victory against Boris Johnson’s Conservative majority government.
At age just 22 years-old, Rashford is developing into a fine, politically conscious, young black male. He has drawn attention to a social issue which effects up to 1.3 million children and he has vowed to seek more change. (BBC: Marcus Rashford seeks more change after food voucher win: 17/06/2020)
The Conservative government do not have a tradition of helping the poor and tackling poverty, so it can be argued that this embarrassing U-turn for them has more to do with Rashford’s celebrity status and 2.9 million Twitter followers than it has to do with the sudden moral awakening of the Conservative Party’s conscience.
Rashford brought 2.9 million potential voters to the bargaining table of Downing Street and no sensible government would ignore that.
Rashford’s campaign should be an inspiration to black voters who are seeking to influence political legislation, because let’s be honest, money and voting numbers talk if you want MPs to sit up and take notice.
Time for black history to be part of the national curriculum
According to Nicole Martin and Omar Khan: Ethnic Minorities at the 2017 British General Election: February, 2019) “…in December 2015, 76% of the black population who were eligible to vote were on the electoral register“.
The campaign for making black history a part of the UK education curriculum has failed because arguably, the black community are not speaking as one voice using their strength of numbers to force political change.
In 2014, an e-petition to Introduce black history to the primary curriculum gathered a disappointing 43, 914 signatures. The government responded to the people’s motion by stating that they felt the current curriculum sufficiently taught young children about black history. (Introduce Black History to the primary curriculum: 24 April, 2014)
On the 23rd November 2017, another e-petition was put forward titled, Teach black history In History lessons. Introduce black history into primary and secondary schools. This petition gathered a mere 25, 638 signatures, and the government’s response was similar to their response in 2014.
It is interesting that a petition to Stop the badger cull gained 304,255 signatures.
In April 2019, parliament passed new regulations so that Relationships and Sex Education will be taught in all primary and secondary schools from September.
This was a massive victory for the LGBT community, which means that young people and children will be taught about sexual orientation, same sex relationships and different family structures as part of their education.
What is amazing about this victory for the LGBT community is the following paragraph:
“Parents can’t withdraw their children from Relationships Education in primary or secondary school. But they can withdraw their children from some or all of Sex Education at both primary and secondary level, up until three terms before their child’s 16th birthday.
In primary school, headteachers must grant this request automatically. At secondary level, headteachers are encouraged to discuss the request with parents before they are able to withdraw their children from Sex Education…” (LGBT-inclusive education: everything you need to know: 15 July, 2019: Stonewall)
Strength, unity and numbers can cause change
In my view the strength and unity of the LGBT movement has enabled them to create changes in parliament, and on the Stonewall website it states that there is much more to be accomplished.
The number of followers that Marcus Rashford has on his Twitter clearly made all the difference to his campaign and a combination of all the points I have mentioned is needed for the black community in Britain to create changes in parliament.
We need to use out votes as bargaining chips to get the best deal because when it comes to politics, money or numbers can often force U-turns.
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