The Conservative Party and British Asians

So you may have seen that this week that I was lucky enough to be featured on Channel 4 News, which can be viewed here. I was discussing why the Conservative party still alienates voters from the British Asian community alongside Conservative Cllr. Rabia Bhatti.

Also a quick awkward snap of me in mid conservation – for those of you who are all about the visuals:

Blog channel 4

Casually chatting with Channel 4’s Jon Snow

I wish I had more time to engage with Cllr. Rabia Bhatti.

I wish I could have asked her how she could sit on a national news discussion and state that there was no elitism in the party, whilst wearing a Chanel scarf and Dolce and Gabbana glasses. Which by the way probably cost more than a fortnightly wage earned by a typical working class person.

I wish I could have asked her how she felt with coming across as a token British Asian in the Conservative party?

And more than anything I wish I could have asked what she really thought about the anti-immigration vans? Surely she had a different opinion to ‘they weren’t nice’ as she stated? No love, they were downright fucking offensive.

I still maintain that an image of elitism and traditionalism is holding the party back from entirely connecting with a British Asian audience. And also the general wider voting population.

After all image matters – especially in politics. Not everybody follows politics very closely, and not everybody examines every single policy before casting their vote.

So what influences votes? Image and quite often who your parents vote for. So let’s look at the image of the Conservatives – rich, posh and old-fashioned. Shit situation, but that’s what it is, and no amount of staged photo trips to India will change that.

Despite promoting values that are in-line with what the majority of British Asian’s are perceived to share – pro-business and pro-family the Conservatives still struggle to capture votes.

So let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that when most Asian families came to the UK they were not wealthy, nor did they all open businesses. Instead their day-to-day life was spent working in factories and foundries in manual labour positions.

No matter the level of success which has now been achieved by British Asian’s over the course of different generations they all ultimately started as members of the working class, hence the loyalty to Labour.

This loyalty to is strong with the older generation, and is a view passed to the younger generation. Labour always looked after them, Labour appealed to their way of life, Labour passed anti-discrimination laws and oh yeah – Labour didn’t ever approve vans to drive around the streets of London asking people if they were in the UK illegally.

Also let’s not forget the legacy left behind by Enoch Powell. Good old Enoch and his eloquent ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech has left a stain in the minds of many – not just British Asians, but also others from ethnic minorities and stands as a symbol (along with ‘are you here illegally’ vans from last year) of the feeling that Conservatives don’t quite like you – unless you are white of course, and super rich.

Think I’m being over dramatic? Well here’s a fun fact – I was blessed enough to be quoted parts of Enoch’s infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech at length by a former colleague in 2013. In 2013 this speech was still repeated to those from ethnic minorities, so the Conservatives need to do a lot more than embrace a few British Asian Chanel wearing politicians with a sheepish stance on anti-immigration vans to get votes. If they say they are all inclusive then I’m afraid I need to see more proof.

Until next time….x