Ghazni appointed Lib Dems' new National Diversity Adviser

by Stephen Tall on September 11, 2007

Issan Ghazni has been appointed to the newly created position of National Diversity Adviser based at the party’s Cowley Street Headquarters. Issan has a consulting and professional background in Equalities and Diversity at the highest level and has extensive experience of the public, private and voluntary/community sectors.

Issan is also a Liberal Democrat activist who fought Nottingham East in 2005, doubling the Lib Dem vote and achieving a swing against Labour of almost 12%. Commenting on his appointment Issan said:

“This is an exciting time to be joining the team at headquarters. I am really looking forward to tackling the diversity challenges we face and making the party both fit for the times, and also representative of our culturally diverse communities.”

HQ Director Ben Stoneham says that Issan’s appointment shows the party strengthening its commitment to equality and widening participation. “Issan will play a central and strategic role in improving diversity throughout the organisation and in particular amongst parliamentary candidates by developing and leading new initiatives within the party and aby improving existing practice.”

Party Leader Ming Campbell will be introducing Issan at a number of meetings at the Brighton Conference: “I welcome the experience from public, private and voluntary sectors that Issan will bring to the party in the very important work of promoting diversity.

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Plenty of room for improvement on this one boys and girls. Mostly boys.

by Chris Paul on September 12, 2007 at 10:38 am. Reply #

This is a very welcome appointment, and Issan is experienced enough to know he has to hit the floor sprinting!
Issan is however one person, and to make the radical changes we need, party members at all level will need to support this work.

by Meral Ece on September 12, 2007 at 10:52 am. Reply #

I agree – it’s very good news. I don’t know this person but I’m very glad to hear of his arrival.

However Meral is also very right that this work needs the support of people across the party if it is to succeed.

by Jeremy Hargreaves on September 12, 2007 at 11:51 am. Reply #

This is welcome news!

But Meral is right, it is going to require a lot of change across the party.

I just hope Issan’s work doesn’t get reduced to being a training function; which seems to be what the Campaign for Gender Balance now confines itself to.

Diversity is about welcoming not just different people but a different way of doing things. It is not about welcoming different people to do things the same way they’ve always been done before. That is ‘box ticking’.

by Jo Christie-Smith on September 12, 2007 at 12:25 pm. Reply #

The Campaign for Gender Balance has only ever had a mentoring and training function. It’s never purported to be a full equalities policy. It has had ambitions to do more in terms of outreach work, but it can’t do that on good will alone – that side of things needs resources and those resources have always been elusive (despite the party having a £200,000 diversity fund which they aren’t allowed to touch).

There is no shortage of good will within the party in terms of promoting diversity and equality. The question is, will Issan have the resources at his disposal to build on it? If he has to go begging each time he needs a few stamps – the CGB experience – I fear not.

by James Graham on September 12, 2007 at 1:00 pm. Reply #

I’m sorry, you’re right, James, that is the CGB remit and even to do that they are woefully underfunded. However the name suggests a rather wider remit, it suggests an outcome rather than just an activity – perhaps we should call it the Campaign for Women’s Training ? 😉

Issan is going to be a ‘National Diversity Adviser’ – I do hope we take his advice and don’t just throw it out if it’s not what we all want to hear!

I have to disagree with you though, James, about the amount of good will the party has towards promoting diversity and equality (and hey, what about balance?). What I mostly see is general indifference, rabid complacency and rather too much lip service (present company accepted) – I really do hope Issan’s appointment heralds a change in approach from the Leadership.

It will be fascinating to see what the Rowntree money is spent on, after all they’re bound to want to know.

by Jo Christie-Smith on September 12, 2007 at 1:32 pm. Reply #

It is not a question of money.

It is a question of commitment and really meaning the rhetoric.

I do not think that this amount will make any difference whatsoever.

by Yasmin Zalzala on September 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm. Reply #

“I have to disagree with you though, James, about the amount of good will the party has towards promoting diversity and equality (and hey, what about balance?). What I mostly see is general indifference, rabid complacency and rather too much lip service (present company accepted) – I really do hope Issan’s appointment heralds a change in approach from the Leadership.”

When I said that, I was talking in qualitive and quantitive terms, not in relative terms.

Basically, I agree with you: there is yawning indifference within the party to the issue; indeed I made precisely that point back in July. But is a significant minority within the party that, given the proper encouragement, will run with it. Sadly, thus far even that has been too much to ask.

by James Graham on September 12, 2007 at 4:01 pm. Reply #

Good news – it’s a huge job but Issan has the skills and experience to make real progress.

As others have said, it needs to be backed with resources and a real will from within the party to make the changes that are needed.

by Ed on September 13, 2007 at 12:09 am. Reply #

Delighted at the announcement, and whilst I am writing this I would like to plug the Hackney Lib Dems garden party on the Sunday 23rd September (first Sunday after conference) on “Multicultural London; A success story?” where Meral will be one of the speakers.
See the Flock Together website for details: See

by Geoffrey Payne on September 13, 2007 at 7:42 am. Reply #

As a friend and colleague of Issan – I know that this appointment is very well deserved and will make a HUGE difference, providing he gets the support from the rest of the party – well done Issan!

by Glyn W Johns on September 13, 2007 at 8:19 am. Reply #

Congratulations Issan.
Knowing you for the last three years, I know you will give it your best effort. There are going to be trying times in HQ Politics which will bring Highs and Lows. We are here to provide the vocal support.

You have a great challenging environment, where promisses have always come fast and thundring, but never a lasting commitment or follow-up to promises. There is work to be done with changing attitudes at membership level as well as at activists level.

The representation is very poor and is not going to change overnight. Its a long road and be prepared for short-term disappointments and stick to medium and long term goals.

Laydown good solid foundations for developing diversity as these are completely lacking in this Party.

Good Luck and well done

by Nasser Butt on September 14, 2007 at 12:46 pm. Reply #

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