Gujuratis in politics Aug03
is a large Gujarati population in Brent East and other North West London
constituencies. Most Gujaratis believe in a liberal market economy based
on free enterprise, law & order, family values, concern for high
quality of education, health and social services. Many of the resident
electors are successful businessmen, industrialists, professionals and
community workers. A good number are councillors and have rendered years
of service to their communities.
why do Gujaratis vote Labour? Why do the Conservative and Liberal parties
not have a fair representation of ethnic parliamentarians? Do most ethnic
constituents abstain from voting? If so, why? In seats such as Brent East,
there are more than 20,000 ethnic voters out of a total of 58,000. This
should give the ethnic voters substantial influence in selecting a
candidate of their choice and in determining the policies that can bring
benefit to the area.
have the major political parties not chosen Gujarati candidates to be
their prospective parliamentary candidates in winnable seats for
Westminster and Brussels? Why is selection for winnable seats still the
prerogative of the ‘kingmakers’ in national offices of the political
is alleged that the Labour selects its candidates from its national party
office whilst the Conservative Party gives substantial autonomy to its
constituency associations. Whilst the Conservatives have succeeded in
selecting more ethnic candidates in winnable positions for Brussels for
the 2004 European elections, the Liberals have failed to select any ethnic
candidate in a winnable position for Westminster and Brussels.
political parties have not succeeded in ‘connecting’ with ethnic
minorities. Many reasons have been suggested by political analysts:-
participation in British politics can only be realised if members of the
ethnic minorities take an interest in politics and vote without fail at
elections. Gujaratis must join local constituency associations of
political parties that offer them the best policies. They should
participate in association activities, volunteer as officers and
eventually put their names forward for selection as candidates for
Parliament in Westminster and Brussels. They must choose prominent members
in their community to represent them and young professionals and business
people – both men and women – must be at the forefront of such an
active campaign to be involved in politics.
participation in British politics must be based on merit. Aspiring ethnic
politicians must involve themselves fully in the activities of their local
constituency associations. They must connect with and encourage all
constituents, including ethnic minorities, to come out and vote at
elections. They must do this by knocking on doors and getting themselves
known locally. They must work and serve their community – all
constituents irrespective of class, creed or religion. Only in this way
can they claim to be true citizens and representatives of their area.
If sufficient people from ethnic minorities take an active part in local constituency politics and most of the others vote in local and national elections, there will be a sea change in British politics. When will these major British political parties begin to realise the potential of the ethnic vote? I hope the Conservative Party will take the lead so that success in London and beyond can reverse the majority against them in Westminster and allow them to win the next General Election!