How conservative values can help us secure a better future & Why modern British conservatism is the best response to Labour’s new socialism
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Summary Of Key Points
Capitalism Vs Socialism
Capitalism equates to competence plus hard work resulting in constructive change. It leads to a meaningful and purpose-driven life with societal progression.
Marxist Socialism equates to resentment plus idleness resulting in destructive change. It leads to a meaningless and empty life with societal degradation.
Capitalism is not a perfect economic system, but it is the best one the world has ever known. It is at the core of conservative philosophy and Conservative politics.
Whenever Marxist Socialism has been adopted as a system of economics and governance, anywhere in the world, it has always ended in failure.
Currently, Labour’s political hardware is torn between supporting, or abandoning, Marxist economics. Meanwhile, its political software is running an elitist, hybrid operating system. A bizarre mix of neo-Marxism and woke (or liberal) socialism i.e. the politics of resentment, division, victimhood, and opportunism.
Valuing Human Imperfection
Human beings need to be anchored in the world and connected in life. Conservatism understands this basic truth and advocates that every life has intrinsic worth. Conservatives are the true party of benevolence and compassion, whereas Labour merely pretends to be.
Socialism is a pathology of hatred, comfortable with dehumanising individuals. Socialists despise the people they claim to care about. Individuals, striving for a better life, pose a threat to their warped vision of a utopian society run by authoritarian ideologues and intellectuals.
Despite a damning finding by the EHRC, Labour remains a safe space for far-left political extremists. Sir Keir Starmer is taking a leisurely approach in detoxifying his racist party.
Success And Security
Schools should be modern temples of learning. Young people deserve a decent, well-rounded education. One that develops the mind, by learning how to think, and instils the courage to act constructively in the world. Converting ideas into actions.
Labour’s professed belief in the power of education is a sham. The party denigrates success and disparages people, particularly from working backgrounds, who dare to be ambitious.
Conservatives recognise that being intelligent, without being industrious, is not a healthy, meaningful way to live. We understand knowledge and skills are essential for social mobility.
The Left worldview is naïve. They believe globalisation is good and see no problem in removing borders. The Right believe every life has intrinsic value, but also realise every individual can be complex, and even callous. Thus, it is essential to be realistic and responsible on immigration.
Development Not Decline
Conservatism seeks to conserve that which works well and reform that which does not. Learning from the past, and improving the future, in a way that is thoughtful and measured.
Conservatism advocates taking responsibility for our own lives, supporting our families, and helping other individuals in society by empowering them.
Conservatives appreciate the importance of working. We need something to strive for to give our lives purpose and meaning. Labour is promoting an anti-competence, anti-work agenda.
Conservatives understand family is the foundation of society. Our best guarantee for security, connection, happiness, and contentment. Socialists view the family unit with contempt.
Following an influx of workshy individuals, Labour has been gripped by resentment and idleness. Labour MPs scam young people into believing life is easy and hard work is optional.
Conservatism offers a credible alternative to empower the next generation. Simple, honest truths built on values of responsibility, self-improvement, respect, hard work, and ambition.
A Brighter Future
We are lucky to live in such an incredible country. We should preserve and protect the best of British, and promote our imperfect history, to the next generation.
We need not engage with those who seek to do us harm or undermine our values. Instead, we should work to solve problems for ordinary people.
We can take pride in our successes and strive to perfect the nation we intend to bestow. A nation where equal rights and equal responsibilities go hand-in-hand.
The degeneration of political discourse is a product of incompetence and chaos on the Left. Conservatives have the competence and order to get on with the job.
Modern conservatism has a great deal to offer our country. We are the party of progress and benevolence. Self-improvement and hard work. The party of responsibility, success, inclusivity, and family. Building better lives for all – and taking our nation forwards.
The Price We Pay
When I resigned from Labour in 2020, I laid the blame squarely at the feet of the party. This was unfair. I was angry after years of far-left abuse. Processing feelings of betrayal. The ultimate sin.
As time has gone on, a clearer picture has emerged. It is true there has been a deterioration in British politics. The Labour Party, in particular, has degenerated greatly this last decade.
But as I have aged, and broadened my horizons, many of my core beliefs have also evolved. I am no longer the same 18-year-old who joined New Labour one sunny afternoon at Brunel University.
It is a blessing and a curse to have an open, curious mind. By not being closed to new information, or different people, I have learned new ideas and different ways to understand the world. However, it meant abandoning comfortable, familiar surroundings, and a host of political friends.
Perhaps this is the price we pay to grow.
A Year In Contemplation
I joined the Conservative Party in spring 2021 and now serve as Deputy Chair of Leicester Conservatives. I am thrilled to be on board. Proud to be in a party that reflects my values.
For me, this was the culmination of a steady, but serious, journey of political transition. A journey lasting more than a year. The duration of lockdown.
I spent much of my time speaking with friends, and studying the works of many great thinkers, to develop and distil my own conservative beliefs.
In this paper I shine a light on ideas I believe are essential. Ideas about people, politics, psychology, and philosophy.
I discuss conservative values and how these can help us secure a better future. I reference some of the problems now blighting the Labour Party.
I outline why modern British conservatism is the best response to Labour’s new socialism. Finally, I draw on my experiences, and talk about my vision for the future of our country.
I shall now set out my own, imperfect, case for conservatism.
Competence And Hard Work In Capitalism
Competence is the product of innate human curiosity and a yearning for self-improvement. Capitalism values competence, and thus, competent people tend to do well in capitalist societies.
Competence, in this context, can be the collective term for our:
Knowledge – information gleaned from learning and stored in the mind;
Thoughts – the ability to think and create new ideas and solutions;
Skills – using knowledge and thoughts to complete tasks and make progress;
Creative Potential – tangible results produced by acting constructively in the world.
Competence is developed slowly through life by studying, working, and competing with others – and our younger, former selves – to become better. As we increase competence, we can trade our time in exchange for reward and satisfaction i.e. working, running a business, volunteering etc.
Everyone can build sufficient competence to work a job or find a creative outlet. But not everyone has the best start in life. We rightly have education and welfare systems to help address this.
Overall, capitalism is competence plus hard work, resulting in constructive change in the world. It leads to a meaningful and purpose-driven life and, eventually, societal progression.
Capitalism is not a perfect economic system. But it is also the best one the world has ever known. It promotes freedom, progress, co-operation, and equality, and has transformed the course of human history, lifting billions out of poverty. Capitalism is at the core of conservative philosophy and Conservative politics – and rightly so.
Protecting Our Nation
It has been a painful year. Our lives have changed forever. We have seen, perhaps for the first time, the face of our own mortality. I know I have.
At a time of unprecedented challenge – a full-blown, global emergency – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government took a hugely interventionalist approach.
Borrowing, and injecting, hundreds of billions of pounds into the British economy. Empowering the NHS. Saving lives, jobs, and businesses. Delivering a successful vaccine rollout.
It was a significant and responsible undertaking in frightening times. A government, stepping up, to fulfil its primary purpose. Protecting the British people and saving the economy.
The last decade has not been plain sailing. There have been many, not unreasonable, criticisms of Conservative policies. But the party has grown to embody an important truth. We can practise social compassion without socialism. We can have lightly regulated markets without Marxism.
Conservative fiscal policy has rolled with the times. Pressing on different levers of economic theory, blending monetarist and Keynesian approaches, as and when required. This demonstrates adaptability and expertise. Responsible management of Britain’s economy.
Rishi Sunak has proven himself an exceptional chancellor. He has done more for working people than Labour ever would. This is why Labour has struggled to land any credible opposition.
A spring 2021 survey of Labour voters found 55% preferred Tory Rishi Sunak. Compared to just 37% support for their own (now-defunct) shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds.
Resentment And Idleness In Socialism
Something For Nothing
Envy is a perilous human emotion and goes beyond desire, a healthy sensation we all feel. In the context of understanding socialism, we can think of ‘desire’ as noticing another person’s success, and wanting it for ourselves – by working hard to achieve it.
Whereas ‘envy’, in the same context, is noticing another person’s success, and wanting it for ourselves – by judging the other person unworthy and wishing to deprive them i.e. envious resentment.
Envious resentment dwells in the mind. When converted into action, it is akin to idleness and theft. Wanting something for nothing. Failing, or refusing, to earn value and success by building competence, working hard, and contributing to society.
Resentment is at the core of Marxism, and Marxism is the obsolete 19th century doctrine of socioeconomics, offered by socialism.
Overall, socialism is resentment plus idleness, resulting in destructive change in the world. It leads to a meaningless and empty life and, eventually, societal degradation.
Whenever Marxist Socialism has been adopted as a system of economics and governance, anywhere in the world, it has always ended in failure – often with dire consequences. My family knows this all too well. It was fanatical, authoritarian left-wing politics built on resentment, that led to all Asian people being forcibly expelled from Uganda, in the early 1970s.
Labour’s Hardware/Software Problem
In today’s Labour Party there is an ongoing tug of war. Between socialists – who want to replace capitalism with some form of Marxism – and social democrats, who understand capitalism is here to stay and want to work within it i.e. New Labour.
Meanwhile, as Labour’s political hardware decides whether to support, or abandon, Marxism, its political software is running an elitist, hybrid operating system. A bizarre mix of neo-Marxism and woke (or liberal) socialism i.e. the politics of resentment, division, victimhood, and opportunism.
Consequently, the Labour Party is more interested in vilifying successful, aspirational individuals, than doing anything to help ordinary working people – and their children – to get ahead.
Labour is ideologically adrift, clinging desperately to any old rubbish that floats by. Labour lacks credibility on the economy for several reasons. Not least because the party is still grappling with such an absurd, and outdated, political debate.
Britain invented capitalism. We began the Industrial Revolution! Capitalism has prevailed around the world. Socialists may as well be trying to convince the Inuit people to give up fishing.
Valuing The Imperfect Individual
I learned a major life lesson, between summer 2017 and summer 2018, when I was a Labour council candidate in Harborne, Birmingham. I endured the seething, vengeful hatred of socialists.
As I was acting in the world to bring about change – with a team of dedicated, moderate supporters – I was on the receiving-end of a relentless 9-month campaign of abuse, bullying, and anti-Hindu bigotry. A vicious, concerted effort to destroy me, by people in my own party. It was a pretext for attacking my competence and my work ethic.
After losing that election, and having suffered such an onslaught from fellow Labour activists, I fell into a depressive episode lasting two months. The only time this has ever happened to me.
My family, my friends, and the rekindling of my Hindu faith brought me back from that darkness. I felt a sense of awakening and, over the proceeding few years, I was motivated to work even harder. Motivated to learn the truth – and shine a light – on matters of consequence.
The experience changed my life and, ultimately, my politics. This is the story of my redemption.
The Party Of Benevolence
Now, years later, I understand the warped psychology of socialism, and the troubled minds of resentful socialists. My eyes have been opened and I see now what I did not see before.
That conservatives are the ones who truly value personhood. Conservatives are accepting of individual human beings as we really are. Flawed, but limitless. Fragile, but repairable.
People of all backgrounds with complex lives of intrinsic value. Individuals worthy of respect, forgiveness, and salvation. Conservatives are the true party of benevolence and compassion, empowering individuals to take responsibility, and thus, transform their lives for the better.
Anchored In Existence
We, Homo sapiens, are an imperfect species some two-hundred-thousand-years in the making. Warriors and healers. Builders and thinkers.
We have an evolutionary and existential need to be anchored in the world. To belong and be connected in our lives, with some semblance of origin and tribe, duty and love.
This can be achieved in tried and tested ways. Family, friends, and relationships. Productive work. Spiritual contentment. Sport, culture, and tradition. And love of country – our democratic nation state. The grand old story of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
A kingdom, united. Holding us all together through life’s ups and downs.
The False Search For Perfection
The Dark Side Of Socialism
Authoritarian socialists reject grand narratives like the British nation and its heritage. They refuse our true nature for anchoring in the world and connection in our lives.
Socialists have little patience for human dignity. Individuals are of limited value. Unworthy of deliverance, and expendable, for the good of the group. It is not unlike the approach taken by another well-meaning collective in search for perfection. The Borg from Star Trek.
As an ideology, socialism is comfortable with dehumanising individuals. When employed as a system of governance – in regimes that are communist in theory, but socialist in practice – it is a foregone conclusion malevolent tyrants, with troubled minds, rise to the top.
Inflicting pain, suffering, and humiliation on others for pleasure. This is the definition of sadism, and sadism is the dark side of the socialist moon. It may not be observable. But it is always there.
How else do we explain the genocidal mass murder of hundreds of millions of individuals in Soviet Russia, Mao’s China, and 1970s Cambodia? To name but three examples. An incalculable loss of human life, and human potential, caused by a global pandemic of evil ideas.
A Safe Space For Extremists
I am not claiming Labour would be a far-left socialist government. But one fact remains.
In 2020, for the first time in British history, a mainstream political party was deemed to be institutionally racist. A finding, in law, delivered by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
Despite more than a year in the job for Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, his party remains far too hospitable to left-wing political extremists. A warm, welcoming home for some of our most disturbed fellow citizens. Severely misguided individuals with deeply problematic ideas.
Spewing racism. Venerating despots. Holding anti-human sentiment in the chaos of their minds. Projecting self-hatred onto the world and, especially, onto working people who love their families.
The harm caused by Labour to Britain’s Jewish community, as well as others in our nation, tarnished forever the reputation of an important British institution.
The party of Atlee and Wilson. Blair and Brown. The movement that established our National Health Service and so much more besides.
Labour must find its own redemption soon.
Aspiring To A Better Life
Schools As Modern Temples
As an inexperienced Leicester councillor, aged 29, I recall sitting in a closed-door Labour group meeting. We were discussing the future of a school that wanted to switch to academy status.
Every councillor spoke against allowing the grant-maintained school becoming an academy. Not because they were concerned about the quality of education students would get. They were not.
They simply did not want to see a Labour-run local authority lose control and management of the school in question. It was baffling to me. Now, nearly a decade on from that debate, I see how the party had begun drifting off in the wrong direction.
I am not an expert in the field, but I believe properly-run, independent academy schools can be remarkable places of education. Modern temples of learning, with greater autonomy and empowered, well-paid teachers working miracles on impressionable young minds. Producing superb academic results and many contented parents and guardians.
Labour Sneers At Success
The sad reality is Labour’s professed belief in the power of education is a sham. The party now distrusts individuals who become too educated. Too ambitious, too hard-working, too successful. Labour begins disparaging such people. Deploying the politics of resentment.
Sneering at individuals, particularly those of us from working class backgrounds, who aspire to something more. How dare we use our education to build a better life!
Nowadays, Labour prefers to see people wallow in self-pity and hopelessness. Used as cannon fodder by its politicians. Labour MPs who spend their days tweeting endlessly about Palestine, Yemen, Kashmir – and a myriad of other far-flung places. All the places in the world requiring Labour expertise, for some particular reason, and always at the expense of the British taxpayer.
Conservatives believe in the power of education. We understand knowledge and skills are essential for social mobility. We value free speech and free inquiry. Free from the fear of being ‘cancelled’ or harmed for a fleeting transgression or incomplete thought.
A Complete Education
The new socialist Left focuses on developing the mind. Absorbing facts. Achieving qualifications. Learning how to think. Or rather, what to think.
The modern conservative Right goes further. We believe education is a lifelong endeavour. But it should not just be about developing the mind and then, confined to the cushy, risk-free pursuit of only ever criticising other people’s actions.
A proper education requires much more than being an incomplete intellectual, sheltering in the safety of imagination.
Thoughts Into Actions
There are two prerequisites for developing a decent, robust education that builds individual competence. Cultivating the mind, by learning how to think. And then, fostering the courage to extract those thoughts, by acting in the world; constructively, not destructively.
In other words, seeking out information and collating knowledge, facts, and arguments. Able to use one’s mind to create new ideas and solutions. A mental endeavour.
Then, using one’s strength, actions, resources, technology, and/or the help of other people, to take those thoughts and ideas, and work them into existence. A physical endeavour.
Failing Is Learning
We might fail, repeatedly. We will make mistakes, assuredly. But so what? We are flawed and fragile individuals. Why should our attempts at creation be any different?
This is the essence of what it means to be well-educated, and, also, truly alive. Living in the here and now. The present moment. Not trapped in the regrets of yesterday. Not worried about the fears of tomorrow. But living for today.
Taking the risk to build and achieve something of value in our lives. A creative experience that feels scary and difficult. Pushed beyond our comfort zone and possibly made to look a fool!
But only in the eyes of foolish people, too afraid to try their hand at living.
A person that focuses entirely on developing their mind, without taking responsibility to build overall competence, by acting constructively in the world, may experience self-loathing in later life. Self-loathing that will manifest as resentment of others perceived to be doing well.
This is Labour’s current predicament. Mired in the resentment politics of socialism, and a host of other cataclysms, catering to the neurosis of extremist ideologues and embittered intellectuals.
Conservatives recognise that being intelligent, without being industrious – i.e. failing to convert invisible brainpower, into visible results – is not a healthy, meaningful way to live. We understand that working hard, and having something to strive for, brings us not only financial reward but also spiritual contentment, and a happier, healthier life.
Put another way, in language more relatable to Generation Z, in this era of Tiktok and Instagram: it is better to be a content creator, than to be a troll. The former is difficult but rewarding. The latter is easy but meaningless. This is the difference between modern conservatism and woke socialism.
Borders Bring Order To Chaos
Rule Of Law
The Right has long been comfortable with borders. The Left has always struggled with them. This is ludicrous in some sense. We all instinctively support borders between ourselves and other people. We instinctively support borders between our possessions and the possessions of others.
The rule of law is how we build and maintain borders amongst individuals. It brings predictable social order to an unpredictable state of anarchy and chaos.
Respect for the rule of law is essential in a well-functioning, modern democracy with millions of people. This basic principle is no longer the default position for the Left.
A Dangerous Agenda
Socialists and woke radicals have a dangerous, anarchic agenda. They work routinely in opposition to the rule of law, and this includes national borders.
They have a simplistic world view and a naïve understanding of human nature. All too often, it is the result of intellectual immaturity, and a false sense of security, inflated by social media.
When it comes to immigration, many on the Left believe globalisation is inherently good for people. Whereas national laws, which seek to curb free movement, are inherently bad.
They take the traditional (and reasonable) Labour mantra – that pooling knowledge and working together leads to a better state of affairs – and seek to apply it globally, to all and sundry.
They believe all people, including those born and raised in parts of the world with little or no shared history with Britain, and our values, can easily be assimilated into our society en masse.
This explains why Labour is hostile to borders that stem the flow of people. It shows why Labour is also weak on crime, and national defence, particularly when the far-left are in the ascendancy.
The True Nature Of Humankind
It is easy to talk deleting borders if one believes, opportunistically, large numbers of poorer economic migrants will adopt leftist ideals, and have a minimal impact on jobs and wages.
It is easy to talk decriminalisation, and dismantling nuclear weapons, if one believes, naïvely, the rest of humanity can be trusted, and everyone’s good intentions can be taken at face value.
In reality, and despite every life having intrinsic worth, every single individual is also capable of great cruelty and great evil, as I have come to learn from a career in criminal justice.
There is a shadow in every mind. An unconscious, undiscovered self. A back seat driver that can be cold, calculating, and callous. Here lurks a person’s capacity to carry out acts of barbarism. Brutal violence. Mass murder. Sexual assaults on children. This is the true, complex nature of humankind.
If we are to survive, and thrive, we must first understand who we are. Not as social groups and nation states; political parties and religions. But as a developed, and dangerous, biological species.
There is no guarantee individuals raised in parts of the world that do not share our values, or worse, oppose our values – i.e. democracy, law, equality, freedom, human rights and dignity, family, hard work, religious tolerance etc. – will happily, and honestly, integrate into our society.
Therefore, it is essential to take a realistic and responsible approach when setting a national immigration policy. One that protects not only our borders, but also our values, and our ambitions.
Conservatives recognise there is an ideological boundary on the political Right. It is the border between conservatism, and the politics of far-right populism, and fascism.
No such boundary exists on the political Left, due to its hostility to borders. Consequently, Labour was overrun by far-left political extremists.
Resentful individuals who drove away many moderate, competent people – whom they saw as a threat to their anti-competence, anti-work agenda – and whose departure has imperilled Labour’s electoral fortunes.
Until Labour cleans house, champions working people, and learns to love our country once again without dividing communities, it remains a lost cause.
Labour is now blighted by woke socialism, and a devious attempt to delete biological borders between sexes.
The trans population of Britain is roughly 0.3%. These are our fellow citizens. Busy living their lives, free and equal, like everyone else.
But from within this number – alongside an array of vocal apologists – there is a faction of far-left extremists, pushing an anti-women agenda.
They claim trans-women, who were born into male bodies and later transitioned into female bodies, should be considered and treated as women, as a biological reality.
Whereas women born and raised as females, with female physiology and an XX chromosome – individuals who never had to transition to anything – should be classed as ‘CIS women’. An artificial, social construct, and the beginning of a slippery slope to diminish womanhood.
It is illogical, absurd, and misogynistic. If it falls to me as a man, and as a conservative, to choose between being politically correct or being an ally of women, I side with women. Today and always.
Meritocracy Over Mediocrity
The political reputation of conservatives is portrayed as regressive. Backward-looking people, who fear change, and prefer the status quo. This is inaccurate.
A better description is conservatives want to conserve that which works well, and reform that which does not. So long as any reforms do not make things worse.
Progressing, ever forwards – in trial and error, and careful refinement – towards an enhanced human experience. This is the mindset of working people and business owners.
Individuals of all backgrounds, striving to create a better life for themselves, and their families.
Conservatism has a wise appreciation of the past. Conservatives recognise the worth of what we have inherited. Important ideals, and institutions, passed down through generations.
These added value in the lives of people who came before us. It is likely they will add value to our lives, as well. Therefore, we aim to be thoughtful and measured.
Not charging around in an easy rampage of mindless destruction. But considerate of why things are the way they are, and inspired to work diligently, on the harder task of building for the future.
Improving ourselves, and our nation, to enhance the legacies we shall want to pass on. It is not a glamorous endeavour. But we know it is the right thing to do.
Freedom And Responsibility
Conservatism wants to see a nation with greater individual freedom, fiscal responsibility, and limited interference by the state. A society in which we add value to our own lives, and work to bring value to the world around us, whilst also looking after our most vulnerable.
Getting a good education. Learning trades and life skills. Protecting our environment. Providing for our families, and contributing to our communities, by empowering individuals.
With a Conservative government increasing social mobility, and enabling the creation of more jobs, wealth, and opportunities for all with a strong, expanding economy.
Works Bring Solace
Conservatism understands work and creativity are spiritual endeavours, not just financial ones. Alongside love of family, and social connectedness, productive work is essential for a good and wholesome life. We know this to be true.
The fragility of life means we need something to strive for to give ourselves purpose and meaning. To feel a sense of achievement and pride. To reach for the stars! A future that is happy, healthy, grounded, and sane, especially as we age.
Anchored in existence. Connected in life. With a belief in something grander than us mere mortals.
Love Of Family
Family is the bedrock on which civilisation is built. The cornerstone of existence. Written into our DNA. Modern families exist with different structures, sizes, and sexualities, but one truth remains.
In a cold and brutal world, where suffering is the default of the human condition, family is our surest guarantee for security and connection. Happiness and contentment.
For love of family, we strive for something more. We work to build a better future, so that our families may lead happier, safer lives.
Marriages and partnerships allow two individuals to form a powerful union. A lifelong pledge for private gain and public good. Joining together to raise children, potentially, but benefitting the whole of society in any event.
The importance of family and the institution of marriage is self-evident. So much so, we take them for granted. We leave them undefended in the face of corrupt ideals.
Socialism views the family unit with contempt. It believes family is a means to an end, namely: a way of exploiting others and acquiring property for perpetual inheritance.
Leftist ideologues use false and foolish arguments to deny human nature. They attack and undermine family as the basis of society. Partly, they are resentful at seeing others living happy, wholesome lives. Partly, they wish to create a new utopian world of idleness. A fantasy land of make-belief where arrogant, authoritarian socialists reign supreme.
Yesterday’s socialists are today’s woke radicals. Miserable individuals who rejected the need for anchoring in the world, and connection in their lives, and now want to change society to reflect their mistake.
We should stand firm and defend the institutions that bring us meaning and value.
Labour Misleading Young People
We have an entire generation of young people in Britain with the potential to be supremely creative and successful.
Sadly, they are being led astray by a new breed of clout-chasing, workshy Labour politicians. Politicians not interested in lifting people up by inspiring ambition. But pulling people down by denigrating success.
They preach values of resentment and hopelessness to their base, particularly the young. Opposing capitalism. Belittling family life. Disparaging our flag. Our Queen. Our country. Demonising our heritage and our values.
It is a grotesque dereliction of duty. British kids deserve more from their politicians than clickbait. They deserve the truth.
Labour’s Short Term Swindle
What young people are being offered by Labour is a short-term swindle. Not a long-term solution. But Labour MPs cannot level with the next generation.
They cannot tell them life is hard or offer any meaningful advice. How could they? Going from university degree, to left-wing activist, to Labour MP is not that arduous a path. A career in Labour politics does not prepare a civic leader to speak candidly from experience.
That life is a marathon, not a sprint. That to get ahead, we must first take responsibility to improve ourselves. That success requires continual growth and incremental refinement. That hard work and courage is necessary to become a productive member of society.
An individual who not only deserves a decent income. But commands one.
British Kids Deserve The Best
I believe our next generation deserve the chance to have extraordinary futures. Inspired by simple, honest truths, based on timeless British – and Indian – values.
Values that are inalienable to humankind. Values of respect and responsibility. Self-improvement and hard work. Ambitious creativity and love of family.
Transforming powerful ideas of the mind, into tangible achievements in life, by acting constructively with physical endeavour. A modern philosophy for a modern world.
Competing In The World
I believe our best and brightest should be competing with youngsters from Switzerland to Singapore. From Mumbai to Shanghai.
I believe all young people deserve an equal shot to get ahead and try to be amongst our best and brightest. Decent life chances. Quality healthcare. Outstanding public education with a greater emphasis on maths and science.
And the confidence to build a creative outlet, or hold down a job, safe in the knowledge they are moving forward with purpose. Increasing their competence, value, and marketability. Building for themselves, with gritted tenacity and hard work, a future of happiness and contentment.
This is the life I built for myself. I want to help others do the same.
Proud To Be British
A Sense Of Gratitude
I have written previously about coming from a poor background. The son and grandson of Ugandan Asian refugees, who arrived in Britain with nothing, except for their Indian values. Timeless ideals, which reflected the values of British society back then, and still do today.
I was raised in a council home on free school meals. The first in my lineage born in the west. The first in my family to attend university. I made huge strides in my life, thanks to five key factors.
My family, faith, and cultural values. The welfare state, which my parents and I used as a safety net, and then, as a springboard. Many inspirational teachers in the state schools I attended, several of whom I still keep in-touch with.
My curious mind and work ethic. A desire to know the world and a drive to build a successful career. For instance, by working 12-hour night shifts in a casino to put myself through law school. A gamble that paid off.
But none of this would have been possible, were it not for the fact I was born in this incredible, generous country. The only place I have ever called home.
A nation where opportunities are plentiful and hard work and competence is rewarded. A society in which democratic norms and customs are sacrosanct, and dissent is tolerated, even from people who are consistently ungrateful.
And a land with a rich, beautiful history and proud cultural heritage. A heritage that deserves to be honoured and respected, warts and all. Held carefully, in our trust, and bequeathed to the future.
Respecting Britain’s Heritage
We have had two decades of turbulence. Geopolitical upheaval and economic instability. We are exhausted in this age of rolling news. Tethered to our smart phones. Sifting through complexity.
We mourn the loss of our fellow citizens. The loss of our freedoms. And an entire year of our lives. Sands of time, now blowing in the wind.
Life is moving fast for so many. There is an understandable sense of fear. Fear of not reaching our potential. Fear of being left behind. Fear of the unknown in a post-Brexit, post-pandemic world.
And fear of resentful, revolutionary ideas from elsewhere undermining our history – everything Britain has achieved – and jeopardising our future, by cancelling our values.
We should reject the new socialist agenda seeking to denigrate Britain’s past. The sacrifices made by so many who came before us, not least the ones in uniform.
Besmirching our nation’s history, and the traditions and institutions we have inherited, is not the way to achieve an integrated, multiracial society at peace with itself, and proud of its place in the world.
Contrary to the revisionist ramblings of left-wing radicals, we need not engage in mindless showboating and gutter politics. Instead, we can work to solve problems for ordinary voters. People who care more for positive change in their lives, than viral tweets from minor celebrities.
Looking To The Future
We can move forward together, without dividing communities. Multiple realities can exist simultaneously. We can appreciate, for instance, Britain’s working class is the backbone of this nation. Just as it was for Labour, before the party became a metropolitan, middle class guilt-trip.
The working people I grew up with in Leicester were good and decent folks who told it like it was. Displaying multiple England flags. Discussing immigration with a passing politician. Loyal to their community, and leading authentic lives, wanting the best for their children. More interested in the content of peoples characters, than in the colour of their skin.
We must recognise an entire generation of young people feel a profound sense of futility. Exorbitant education fees. Low salaries and insecure work. A high cost of living with rents, debts, and insurance premiums.
The future of our nation, to whom we shall bestow this land, priced out of the property market. Facing a hidden crisis of mental health as social media influencers, and socialists, rob their time with claims of fame, and easy fortune.
We can trust in the knowledge Britain’s cultural values – perfected slowly by generations of English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish families – and greatly enriched by millions of well-integrated minorities, are held in the hearts and souls of many Brits. People of all backgrounds.
A subtle, dignified patriotism. Not the insufferable American kind. Strong, enduring values. Our best bet in a dangerous and unpredictable world.
And we can accept we are a flawed, imperfect people. A nation where some individuals have suffered disadvantage, and discrimination, with hampered life chances. Where injustices linger, and should be addressed. Through strong equal rights, and, also, clear responsibilities.
Rights And Responsibilities
I did not endorse ‘Black Lives Matter’ last summer. It was hijacked by far-left extremists in America, with an anti-police agenda, and brought rampaging mobs to the streets of Britain.
That said, I believe Black lives should matter as equally as all other lives, and have not always done so. But I have not been showing-off on Twitter or getting on my knees.
Instead, I have been focusing my efforts in recent years – through my work in law, politics, and police regulation – to act constructively in the world, and bring about positive change.
For example, I have just finished a six year stint at the Independent Office for Police Conduct, where, amongst other things, I worked to address racism in policing. Far rarer now than it was, when Stephen Lawrence was tragically murdered, back in 1993.
Before that, at the Leicestershire Police Authority, I tackled the disproportionate stop and search of young Black men. Whilst also leading efforts to save more than 200 local policing jobs.
Before that, as a solicitor, I brought civil actions against police forces in discrimination cases. Whilst also defending individual police officers, wrongfully accused of racism and misconduct.
We do not have to choose between championing equal rights, or championing the justice system, which exists to mandate equal responsibilities. That is a false choice.
It is possible, and indeed, essential, to do both. As I have managed to do in my career.
Proud To Be Conservative
Rejecting False Claims
The Left claim to care about fairness. They want to change the world, externally. All too often they lack the ways and means to do it, as they have yet to master their own, internal world.
On the Right, we not only care about important issues, we are willing and able to do something about them. Without feeling the need to showboat or sow division in society.
This is the difference between being a left-leaning intellectual, lacking competence. And a right-leaning competent pragmatist, with an intellect in-tow.
Thanks to social media, we are now in constant electioneering mode. Thus, the Left is in constant anger mode. The hatred and hostility in our politics is mostly a one-way street. Left to Right.
Socialists behave disgracefully towards conservatives. Lashing out at the slightest infraction. Hurling abuse and false claims. Unable to control their emotions – but wanting to control our lives.
Their bitterness is often a projection of their own limitations. The Left cannot stand the fact one competent Tory can achieve what it takes multiple socialists to even attempt.
Taking Pride In Our Work
The Left think conservatives are uncaring and dispassionate. That we do not show enough emotion in our work. It is an incorrect, but understandable, perception.
We tend to be in better control of our emotions. We believe emotions are quite personal. And we do not see value in being distraught, when there is important work to do.
Most of the time conservatives are just busy getting on with the job. Working hard. Helping people. Solving problems. Fixing the mess caused by incompetent socialists.
Far too busy, in fact, to keep banging on about how compassionate and anti-racist we are. Which, as a pastime for Labour, is a weird thing to do. Surely, not being racist should be self-evident?
We show compassion by helping people to help themselves. We advocate personal growth and aspiration for all individuals, because it maintains good physical and mental health, and allows us to reach our full potential. But many do not see this, and the Left use it to their advantage.
Regrettably, actions do not always speak louder than words. If we want people to know we care about their lives, and the lives of their children, we should say so – loudly and with pride.
For we are the party of progress and benevolence. Competence and hard work. The party of responsibility, success, inclusivity, and family.
After 20 years of activism and public service, I resigned recently as a Labour member. I could no longer belong to an organisation that had become institutionally racist and anti-Indian. I could not support a party that had embraced left-wing extremism and become detached from the lives of ordinary working people.
By way of background, I am a lawyer from central England, and I did a considerable amount of work with the party over two decades: six years as a constituency officer; four years as a Leicester councillor; Police Authority member; parliamentary candidate (Harborough, 2015); council candidate (Birmingham, 2018); and four years as a national trade union branch leader – challenging abuse of power and saving jobs.
I was a loyal party member, but the party is no longer loyal to the people I come from.
In this article I outline the rise of anti-Indian bigotry in the party, and how Labour came to embrace authoritarian socialism, whilst pretending to care about the working class. I explain why Labour has a visceral hatred of British Indians and our values, and contempt for our beliefs.
I discuss the hypocrisy of socialism, and how the party founded by working people now advocates for intellectual idleness and resentment, over hard work and ambition. Finally, I set out why the new leadership will not salvage the party.
2. Sounding the alarm
Exactly 10 years ago I wrote a piece for Labour Uncut on why the party was losing the Hindu vote. In that article, penned in my capacity as Minorities Officer for Leicester West Labour, I urged the party to engage with British Indians, and not take the community and its votes for granted.
In the intervening years, I and many others fought to ensure Indian values were Labour’s values because, coincidentally, these reflected core British values as well.
Values of hard work and aspiration. Entrepreneurial spirit to build a better life. Passion for education and the pursuit of knowledge. Pride in one’s cultural traditions. Family belonging and community support. Fair play and self-sufficiency. Love of country and respect for its laws. Religious worship with tolerance for others. And the desire to live in a safe society, with a strong economy, and decent public services.
Sadly, the party chose not to listen to those of us who were sounding the alarm.
3. Increased anti-Indian bigotry
In recent years I have witnessed, or received evidence of, countless examples of anti-Indian bigotry and appalling behaviour within the Labour Party.
Indian-heritage Labour members have been routinely bullied by fellow Labour activists, with derogatory comments alongside labels such as ‘Hindutva’ – a term used in the same way Zionist is sometimes deployed in a disparaging way, when referencing Jewish people.
In fact, this was one of the frequent criticisms I faced from hard leftists, both before and after my Labour resignation, i.e. that I had some affiliation with the current Indian government. In reality, I have never been involved in Indian politics and, aside from taking an interest in important news stories, I have limited knowledge of Indian domestic affairs. But this kind of supposition, that dual-identity people have competing loyalties and hidden agendas, is part of the anti-Indian racism now embedded in Labour.
British Indian Labour members have also been prevented from participating fully in party meetings. Hindu and Sikh traditions have been mocked and insulted. And complaints of anti-Indian racism, submitted by friends of mine to Labour HQ, have been completely ignored – this includes two separate reports I sent to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in December 2017 and August 2019. (Later in this article I elaborate further on my 2017 complaint.)
In October and November 2019, as parliamentary selections got underway for the upcoming December election, the party machinery began working to disadvantage talented applicants of Indian heritage, in favour of hard leftists. This happened in diverse constituencies across the country, such as Ilford South, Ealing North, and – I should declare an interest – in Leicester East.
4. Corbynite corruption
As I said in my statement at the time of the Leicester East debacle, quite apart from the dodgy practices on Labour’s NEC – with press briefings of the result, in advance of the actual process – the outcome was yet another slap in the face for British Indians.
Two months after she chaired the emergency conference debate on Kashmir, where she had allowed disgusting anti-Indian rhetoric to be openly aired without challenge, Islington councillor and NEC member, Claudia Webbe, was gifted a parliamentary seat with one of the biggest Indian demographics in the country. It all felt a bit Shami Chakrabarti.
Although I was the first to speak out, I was not the only one appalled by the imposition of such a reprehensible candidate – someone who had been in-charge of the party’s now infamous disputes panel, and had a sketchy track record on anti-Semitism, as was demonstrated yet again as recently as June 2020.
Ultimately, there was a swing of 16% against the party in Leicester East, and Labour’s majority was slashed by 73% – turning a once safe seat into a marginal.
5. Clickbait over convictions
The trend among Labour’s hard leftists is to attack and undermine people for daring to voice opinions they find unpalatable. Not content in disagreeing with an individual’s ideas, these cancel culture crusaders seek to destroy the individual, often complaining to a person’s employer to get them sacked. This is the party of working people, lest we forget.
These Labour MPs falsely claimed Patel’s experience of racism was inauthentic. They stated, “Being a person of colour does not automatically make you an authority on all forms of racism”, whilst relying on that same ‘authority’ with which to chastise Patel.
The inexorable march towards clickbait over convictions is further proof of the brain rot now at the heart of Labour, although the explanation for how the rot set-in is a bit more complicated.
6. Embracing left-wing extremism
Ed Miliband’s leadership was a disaster. Not because he was a power-hungry soft-left dilettante, who conspired with hard leftists to beat his better-qualified brother, David, to the leadership, before going on to lose 26 seats. Although he was, and he did.
But because he changed the party’s rules to permit thousands of entryists to vote for his successor. Miliband’s tenure also emboldened thousands of existing members, who took the opportunity to relive their radical youth, by lurching fervently to the left.
Collectively, these individuals – the newcomers and the emboldened members – harboured various regressive beliefs and personal gripes.
First there were the far-left socialists, comprising utopians, anarchists and Marxists, plus all the various Marxist subsets i.e. Leninists, Trotskyites, Stalinists, Maoists etc. (If the Conservatives had done something similar, and cosied up to far-right fascists, such as the BNP or EDL, they would have been loudly condemned by all and sundry. It is to Labour’s eternal shame that such extremists were welcomed into the party.)
These left-wing ideologues were aiming for unachievable perfection at the expense of pragmatism and competence. Possessed by their ideas they believed, quite narcissistically, that despite all the bad theory they alone could fix the world, if only they had control.
Then there were the embittered leftist intellectuals. Highly intelligent, materially comfortable, mainly middle class people, who had not enjoyed the corresponding success in life they felt they were owed, as reward for their intelligence. In other words, smart individuals with an inferiority complex and a deep sense of resentment, having lived a life of passive inaction.
It was this marriage-of-convenience, between far-left revolutionaries and resentful intellectuals, which dragged the party into the socialist wilderness. They did this by repeatedly backing the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn: an inept third-rate politician, with a history of palling around with Hezbollah; and a man so anti-establishment, he has been drawing a parliamentary salary for nearly 40 years.
7. Crocodile tears for working people
The leftist ideologues and intelligentsia, as personified by Corbyn, falsely claimed to be democratic socialists or social democrats. In fact, they were revolutionary authoritarian socialists, an entirely different kettle of fish.
They came from mostly privileged backgrounds but pretended outwardly to be working class. They shed crocodile tears for the poor and downtrodden, whilst carrying entrenched values of anger, entitlement, snobbery and disloyalty.
They used the imagined grievances of ordinary people as a battering ram to try and tear down the British establishment; which, according to their warped mindset, was the root cause of all society’s problems. And they sought to win power to punish the rich; or, depending on one’s perspective, to punish aspirational workers.
Real working class individuals, like myself, who have either made it to the middle class or are aspiring to get there, never actually forget where we came from, or how tough it is to be poor.
We appreciate the freedom success can provide, and we do not view ambition in a negative light. We have an underlying sense of loyalty to our country, and to those British traditions which hard leftists are always so desperate to write-off, such as public spirit and civility, national sovereignty, English common law, the monarchy, the free press, the armed forces, family life, religious worship, private enterprise etc.
The truth is, if they are made to choose, British workers always put their country before their class, and they despise the disloyalty that only self-indulgent intellectuals can afford.
Despite controlling all the levers of power in Labour, and facing a government already in office for nine years, the socialist cult of Jeremy Corbyn failed to win a national vote – not once, not twice, but three times in succession – culminating in its 2019 election defeat, Labour’s worst performance in living memory.
8. Why is Labour anti-Indian?
There are several reasons why Labour has become anti-Indian, but fundamentally it is because the party’s values have changed. There has been a marked increase in hatefulness, resentment, and puritanical tyranny; and a decrease in valuing success and aspiration, tolerance of others, and respect for civil liberties.
This happened after the party abandoned the social democratic ideals of New Labour, and moved much further to the left, embracing authoritarian socialism with neo-Marxist identity politics.
New Marxism (or neo-Marxism) is a postmodern reinvention of classical Marxism. It continues to propagate the 19th century ideology, albeit under a different name for a different era; replacing the original social struggle between classes, with a new power struggle between identity groups.
It does this by dividing everyone into different identities, and then assigning each identity group into one of two fixed categories: the oppressed category or the oppressor category. Whereas classical Marxism pits the working class proletariat against the ruling class bourgeoisie, neo-Marxism pits ‘powerless’ oppressed victims against their supposedly powerful oppressors.
A person’s worth and prospects then, are determined not by their competence and skills, but by which identity group they belong to and how much power their group possesses. We are not complex individuals, living in families and striving to lead happy healthy lives; we are just bit-players in a false binary power struggle between faultless victims and evil rulers.
It is an oversimplified and self-evidently absurd way to categorise all human beings, but this is the politics of the new Identitarian Left.
British Indians, by virtue of our ingrained values, have climbed the socio-economic ladder within the space of one generation. From starting at the bottom, as newly arrived immigrants and refugees – as with my own Ugandan Asian family – to now being at the top, in terms of academic attainment and earning power.
Of course, this does not mean all 1.5 million British Indians think and behave the same way, or that we do not have varying lifestyles and challenges, like any other community.
But having tacitly adopted neo-Marxism as its guiding philosophy, Labour now views British Indians solely through the prism of wealth and status. The party sees that British Indians do not fall so readily (or even willingly) into the category of oppressed victims.
And so, Labour falsely equates the generic success and wealth of the diaspora, with that of an oppressive ‘ruling-class’ identity group.
Consequently, in the minds of many Labour members, British Indians are a legitimate target for racial abuse and prejudicial treatment. We have, quite simply, gotten above our station.
9. Hypocrisy and despotism
Paradoxically, identity politics is not the only explanation for Labour’s racism problem. The success of the Indian diaspora for example, to adapt and integrate in Britain, also poses a threat to the socialist narrative ‘right-wingers hate minorities and would never let them prosper’. This explains why British Indians on the right, even those who have risen to become Home Secretary, face disgusting relentless racism from the left.
Another aspect is quasi-religious. Whenever a Black or Asian person publicly refuses to play their historic role of victim, white authoritarian leftists are unable to play their preferred role of saviour. Ethnic minorities on the authoritarian left have the same Messiah Complex, but they can at least enjoy revelling in playing the role of racial gatekeeper: arrogantly proclaiming with zero authority who constitutes a ‘real’ person of colour (or faith).
All this impertinence, by refusing to know our place, leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of self-proclaimed anti-racists. In a glorious twist of fate and rank hypocrisy, they turn on minorities with racial epithets such as Uncle Tom or coconut. It is literal shorthand for a person of colour ‘acting white’ – revealing, quite beautifully, that in the one-dimensional minds of far-left racists, only white people can (and should) be successful, outspoken, free-thinking, and/or politically right-leaning.
This is the bigoted despotism of the left: professing solidarity for people of colour, but denying them agency; offering them political shelter, but without the freedom to refuse.
The explanation of course, is that authoritarian socialists and far-right fascists – the Identitarian Left and the Alt Right – are two sides of the same coin; the key difference being, socialists are a lot cleverer at hiding their hatred under a veneer of compassion.
10. Contempt for Indian beliefs
Another factor, in Labour’s hostility towards British Indians, is a question of faith. Hindu and Sikh beliefs are communal and compassionate, but also flexible and abstract. Like the British constitution or the Church of England, our religious customs and rituals evolve quietly in the background, adapting to suit the world in which we live.
Our ancestors did not come to here to undermine British values and change society to reflect our religions. In fact, British Indians are amongst the most integrated, because our mentality is one of gratitude and perseverance.
Socialists by contrast, tend to be atheistic or secular, which is no bad thing; secularism is the best way to organise a pluralistic society. But alongside the Godless façade of tolerating other people’s faiths, socialists have a hidden contempt for those of us who practice liberal religious traditions, and how we live our lives.
This concealed disdain is partly a by-product of socialists being smart rational people, acting in accordance with pseudo-scientific Marxist ideology. They cannot fathom the idea that true human freedom includes the freedom to act ‘irrationally’ and have irrational beliefs, or even act against one’s own self-interest.
And it is partly in response to the innate solidarity which exists in dharmic religions: a solidarity particularly strong amongst Non-Resident Indians living in global diasporas.
We, British Indians, tend to have large support networks from relatives and community organisations, and our festivities bind us together, irrespective of class and politics. There is no need for authoritarian leftists to rescue us therefore, and nobody has any patience for the age-old colonial trick of trying to divide-and-conquer our communities, on issues such as caste and Kashmiri separatism.
We have a built-in reverence for education and the power of knowledge, and our teachers (Gurus) are afforded the noblest social status. Labour’s descent from meritocracy to mediocrity, replacing equality of opportunity with equality of outcome – essentially rewarding laziness and incompetence, the same as hard work and competence – offers a grey drab mediocre future to the next generation. It is not an attractive proposition.
We pray to a Goddess of Wealth and a Lord of Success. During Diwali we hold rituals in temples across the world, where financial documents are blessed, and business relationships are developed. Labour’s regression to the left is the antithesis of what most British Indians and, indeed, ordinary working people have long since figured out: liberal capitalism has prevailed over socialist Marxism.
And, most importantly of all, we believe there is more to life than money and power, in that our greatest asset is family and relationships. Our culture places a high value on human connections and taking responsibility, and this has been shown comprehensively as a great way to ward-off social problems and deteriorating mental health, such as depression and addiction for instance.
Marxists by contrast are soulless materialists. They love property and money as much as capitalists, if not more so; they just happen to believe all the world’s problems would disappear, if only other people had the money.
11. Iron fist in a velvet glove
The dodgy dealings in Leicester East was not the first time I experienced the fraudulence of far-left socialists. In August 2017 I was selected as a Labour council candidate in the affluent ward of Harborne, Birmingham, for the May 2018 elections.
Almost immediately, hard leftists and local Momentum groups began a 9-month campaign of trolling and racial abuse. The selection process even had to be re-run a further two times in December 2017, because Momentum-backed challengers were threatening the Labour Party with legal action. They literally wanted to keep running the vote until the brown guy lost.
Thankfully, local members backed me with an increased majority each time, and I won all three selections on (and against) the trot. But having lost five months of campaigning time and made to fight a battle on two fronts – and despite leading my team to the second-highest contact rate in the whole of Birmingham – I did not get elected.
Throughout that period, from the first selection in August 2017 through to the election in May 2018, I was living in a hellish Twilight Zone. Officially my opponents were the Conservatives, but every bit of incoming fire was from my own side.
From shouting and character assassination at party meetings, to being berated at street stalls by thuggish Labour members; from factually incorrect blogs bordering on defamation, to an onslaught of personal abuse and racism via social media.
My 2017 complaint to the NEC never received a reply. Two of the worst offenders went on to become 2019 parliamentary candidates: in Shrewsbury (later ousted and replaced); and West Bromwich West. (A further complaint sent to Labour HQ in August 2019, regarding anti-Indian racism from Labour members in Leicester – at the time of the Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner selection – was also ignored.)
Although it was a dreadful experience, I have never spoken about it publicly until now, having first resigned from the party. This is a good example of the kind of conscience dilemma faced by many British Indian Labour members (and no doubt others too).
On the one hand, we avoid washing dirty linen in public, because of party loyalty and fear of giving ammunition to our opponents. On the other hand, our character and integrity are attacked and undermined, and our motives questioned, not for what we have said or done, but because of who we are, and the ethnic group we belong to.
My final four years as a Labour member was a love-hate relationship. Despite the incessant hatred from my own ranks, I loved campaigning alongside fellow moderates, and I sought positions of responsibility because I believed I could help to turn the tide of hatred and hostility in the Labour Party.
But post-Jeremy Corbyn I have come to realise the problem was not merely Corbynism – it was socialism. Socialism is an iron fist in a velvet glove: an oppressive totalitarian ideology, masquerading as a campaign for social justice.
Having been spread by its adherents, like an idea pathogen, socialism plagued the minds of many in Labour – seductively offering simple solutions for complex problems – not least by blaming entire ethnic groups as having clandestine motives; a standard socialist ploy, as evidenced by tens of millions of corpses strewn throughout the 20th century.
And so, we end in the grotesque chaos of a party founded by working people, becoming a hateful racist organisation; embracing intellectual idleness and resentment, over hard work and ambition.
12. The broad church illusion
The Labour Party is a valuable British institution. It has achieved a great deal in its 120-year history, most notably the National Health Service, and it has an important role to play in our democracy.
Labour’s moderates and social democrats are the party’s saving grace. These members are decent, pragmatic and hardworking. Unlike their socialist bedfellows, they consider people from other parties to be political opponents, not enemies. They believe in winning power to practice politics; not practicing politics to win power. They think proactively, using reason and logic; not reactively, with emotional rage. And they can differentiate between an individual and an individual’s opinions: attacking the ideas, without harming the person.
It is clear to me now that social democracy and socialism are entirely incompatible in today’s Labour Party. Concurrently seeking to emulate Scandinavia and the Khmer Rouge has proved quite troublesome.
But I do not believe enough sensible Labour people can see the wood for the trees, or indeed want to.
For one thing, too many Labour politicians are wholly reliant on the party to earn a living, and so have little incentive to rock the boat and speak the truth. Upsetting the membership could mean losing a job, in a situation not too dissimilar from the Republicans in America.
And for Labour’s moderates, learning the truth about socialism and its many atrocities throughout history, would shatter the illusion of a left-wing broad church, where everyone is basically good.
13. The future for Labour
What began under Ed Miliband, when Labour’s soft-left acted as cowardly apologists and enablers for socialism – allowing the authoritarian leftists to takeover and strangle all credibility from the party – is continuing under the new leadership.
Sir Keir Starmer is clearly an intelligent and respectable man. But he campaigned on certain pledges that were outdated and irrelevant, and he began his tenure by appointing several far-left racists to his shadow ministerial team.
And he did not land any significant punches on the government throughout the pandemic lockdown, choosing instead to be remembered in the public imagination for bending down on one knee for Black Lives Matter, before backtracking on what the stunt was supposed to mean.
The Labour Party may be under new management, but I do not believe Sir Keir and his team have the desire or courage to do what needs to be done.
Establish clear political boundaries. Disaffiliate from extremist unions run by well-fed tyrants. Proscribe Momentum and ban all extreme left-wing groups. And permanently expel tens of thousands of cranks and racists, including every single self-proclaimed ‘Socialist Labour’ MP.
14. The future for me
I got into politics for the same reason I got into law and regulatory work: to hold power accountable, to help those suffering injustices, to solve problems and protect jobs, and to uphold British values.
Playing identity politics and puerile power games, cowering to left-wing despots, and seeking to control and punish others with emotional tantrums – rather than respecting individual freedom, and persuading people with logic – is not my idea of a healthy political movement. But this is all Labour has to offer.
It has taken a great deal of time, and indeed a great toll, to make sense of the last few years, and broaden my knowledge of socialism and Labour’s decline. I feel liberated having removed my political shackles.
Ironically, if it had not been for the arrival in Labour of hard leftists and embittered intellectuals, who proceeded to castigate moderates and abuse minorities, I might never have spent a serious amount of time researching the core tenets of socialism, and understanding the psychology behind the ideology.
I owe my political emancipation then to authoritarian socialists. They motivated me to look afresh at the only party I have ever supported. Thanks to their anti-Indian, anti-Semitic and anti-worker sentiment, I have been spared the torment of bending my life in knots, trying to fit into a party that is not for me.
It is right and proper I repay my debt of gratitude in the coming months and years in the best Indian tradition of thoughtful protest.
Speaking out, openly and often, about the regressive racist left; and exposing the tyranny of socialism, as an embedded feature of the Labour Party.
I might even live up to the meaning of my name in Sanskrit. Bringer of Light.
** Scroll down for updated comments following the Make Leicester British broadcast **
I first found out about Channel 4’s ‘Make Leicester British’ documentary when I saw the trailer a few weeks ago. Many Leicester people including me have serious concerns about the way in which this programme will portray community relations in our city when it is aired on Monday night.
For one thing the trailer begins with the following statement: “In one of Britain’s most diverse cities immigration polarises opinion.” Most of us in Leicester know this is a lie. ‘Polarises’ is a very strong word. It implies there are major disagreements in our city and that immigration is a huge issue for local people. This is simply untrue.
The trailer then cuts to further statements from two different individuals: a man says “English society is losing its identity”; and a woman is then seen to say “I do not want any more people coming into this country; enough is enough!”
These are clearly very provocative statements, although I’m advised the programme will not be as inflammatory as the trailer would seem to suggest. Indeed it appears the trailer has been specifically designed to cause a reaction (and it worked) as well as to whip up a frenzy of viewers on Monday night.
It’s disappointing but unsurprising that Channel 4 regularly broadcasts controversial programmes such as this. ‘Benefits Street’ is another example.
Channel 4 would have us believe they are a bastion of liberal media and a guardian of social justice and equality in Britain. In reality Channel 4 is a commercial organisation and in the end it all comes down to profits and advertising revenues. The higher the viewing figures; the greater the income stream.
Immigration is one of many important issues we care about here in Leicester. But our people and our politicians do not talk irresponsibly about immigration or seek to blame immigrants for the ills of society. Leicester people by and large know that societal problems tend to stem from Tory policies, both past and present, which have always disproportionately favoured very rich people and big corporations.
In any event I think it’s a disgrace that the programme is called “Make Leicester British”. As my friend and Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth tweeted recently “Leicester, proud of our rich diversity, already is British.”
It is extremely offensive for the programme makers and for Channel 4 to suggest our city is not British, or that our ‘Britishness’ has somehow been diluted by the arrival of immigrants, be it from Poland, Somalia, or anywhere else. We also don’t appreciate having some middle class, middle aged, middle management types from London defining what Britishness means to our people and our city.
In regards to the programme I think it’s highly unlikely a bunch of journalists from London visiting Leicester for a couple of weeks – who handpicked participants for an edited 90-minute broadcast – will have gained a sufficient understanding or experience of our beautiful city, our rich heritage, our cultural diversity, and the unity of our people. But let’s wait and see what kind of footage they put out on Monday night.
‘Make Leicester British’ will be shown on 3 November 2014 at 9pm on Channel 4
Having now watched ‘Make Leicester British’ I can make the following observations.
Just a few minutes into the broadcast I knew it would be utter garbage. The narrator referred to Leicester as a divided city, which is an outright lie. In-fact the programme was full of lies, i.e. claiming there were 53 mosques in Leicester when there are actually around 30.
I feel vindicated for having serious concerns about the way in which the programme would portray Leicester people. But I also knew the documentary was produced by the same people who gave us ‘Benefits Street’.
This was manufactured gutter television of the lowest order, designed to create controversy, boost ratings and advertising revenues, and advance the interests of the programme makers – not the political issues or the participants.
The show was sensationalist drivel passed off as a documentary. It entirely failed to reflect the true face of Leicester people. To top it off these visiting London journalists had the audacity to try to define what Britishness should mean to our city and our people.
Ultimately 8 days of footage was edited into 90 minutes of viewing to paint a particular narrative. Specifically, the programme makers wanted us to believe Leicester is divided and that immigration is a major issue in our city; neither of which is true.
The producers handpicked the participants and seemingly opted for people who held extreme views. Whilst this may have made good television – in the eyes of the programme makers – sadly all it demonstrated was that this was never meant to be a sensible, thought-provoking or reasonable documentary about immigration and its associated issues.
There was no factual discussion of the positive aspects of immigration, such as the fact immigrants have contributed more than £25 billion to the British economy. There was also no discussion of the welfare payments asylum seekers receive, which is a maximum of £36 per week.
Overall it was a disgraceful distortion of our city and our people. The programme entirely failed to properly debate the important issue of immigration in a mature and rational way. By ending with a few pithy examples of participants learning the error of their ways, this tacky programme tried to harvest some sense of dignity, and justify the need for its production.
It failed miserably on all counts and I’m sure most Leicester people would agree with me.
I was delighted to visit Gartree High School on Friday 26 September 2014. I had been invited by the Oadby and Wigston Hindu Community to join them in celebrating Navratri, a wonderful 9-day festival of dance which is important to many Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.
It was a pleasure to meet and speak with hundreds of local residents enjoying the festivities. I talked about the meaning of Navratri and I congratulated the committee and the community for putting on such a successful event.
I spoke about my parliamentary candidacy in 2015 and our local Labour candidates also standing for election in Oadby and Wigston. I got the sense that local residents are optimistic about the future and eager to see change. People want politicians who understand them and are prepared to stand up for their values and beliefs.
After I spoke many people thanked me for visiting and some even congratulated me on the quality of my Gujarati! I was incredibly impressed to see the local Hindu community come together to organise events such as this, which are entirely self-funded and staffed by volunteers. The Oadby and Wigston Hindu Community are doing brilliant work locally and I look forward to supporting them in the months and years ahead.
Published in the Leicester Mercury newspaper on 27 June 2014
Many people were alarmed by the recent Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham. A “culture of fear and intimidation” had been created in several schools by hardline Islamists, and there was evidence of an “organised campaign to target certain schools”, according to Ofsted.
We should not make excuses for what happened in Birmingham and we should not brush it under the carpet. It is good that these unauthorised practises have been uncovered and it is right that steps are taken to address the issue.
The schools in question were not faith schools: they were secular schools being run by the local Council and by academy trusts. If they had been faith schools however, then a lot of what was found to be unacceptable would still be going on.
Public appetite for faith schools has diminished significantly. A survey by Opinium found that 58% of people believe faith schools should be abolished and 70% think they should not be state funded.
The central argument against faith schools is that young impressionable children are often taught to accept untruths as truths and to assimilate information through the prism of religion.
Newsnight recently featured a report on 30 private Christian faith schools, where children are taught that evolution isn’t true, and that the earth is only a few thousand years old. This of course contradicts the overwhelming evidence we have which proves that evolution is real and the earth is 4.54 billion years old.
Although the government has banned creationism from being taught in our 7,000 state-funded faith schools, private faith schools continue to operate as a law unto themselves.
Insofar as state funding for faith schools is concerned, to me it seems irrational and counter-intuitive. We don’t allow Council tenants to be housed on the basis of faith or NHS hospitals to have different wards for different religions.
Yet with state-funded faith schools we permit a religious apartheid in our education system, where the next generation of citizens are segregated along doctrinal lines, in accordance with their parent’s beliefs.
The late Christopher Hitchens claimed that faith schools were a “cultural suicide”. He argued that increasing them would turn Britain into somewhere like Lebanon, where people live in sectarian communities, and religious tensions are always simmering away ready to boil over.
Living in a multicultural and multi-faith society is a good thing but we must actively promote integration. We should have secular public services which treat all people equally irrespective of belief.
And all children should receive a well-rounded evidence-based education, with a healthy and inclusive understanding of other faiths and cultures, so as to prepare them for life in modern Britain and the wider world.
Many Leicester people were appalled and disgusted on Saturday (7 June 2014), when photos emerged on social media showing that the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on Belgrave Road had been defaced.
Rupal Rajani from BBC Leicester originally tweeted the photos from her personal account, which had been sent to her by local businessman Vinod Popat.
The graffiti on the statue is an attempt to draw attention to the awful 1984 massacre of Sikhs in Amritsar, a major controversy involving the Indian Prime Minister at the time, Mrs Indira Gandhi.
However it would seem that the culprit who committed this vandalism isn’t very bright. Either they did not know that Mahatma Gandhi and Indira Gandhi were two very different people and completely unrelated. Or they did know the difference, and they did it anyway, in a bid to stir up tensions in the community. In any event, they have failed.
This act only serves to unify Leicester people from all backgrounds and communities, who recognise that it is not a legitimate political protest: it is simply a cowardly act of criminal damage.
Many of my Leicester Labour colleagues were quick to condemn this pathetic behaviour.
Cllr Vijay Singh Riyait of Abbey tweeted: “we need to be clear that this kind of thing is totally unacceptable”. And Assistant Mayor Cllr Manjula Sood of Latimer telephoned me and told me that “this is entirely wrong and goes against the teachings of Sikhism”. She also agreed to inform the police.
Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, tweeted: “Shocked that the Gandhi statue in Belgrave has been defaced. A foolish act of vandalism. Let’s stay united and strong to honour the great man”. His comments were later retweeted by journalists from the BBC and Leicester Mercury.
Having noticed the photos on Twitter fairly earlier on I had immediately emailed them over to City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby. The City Mayor and his Cabinet colleague Cllr Sarah Russell were very quick to respond, confirming within hours that Council officers would be out cleaning the graffiti on Sunday morning.
It is great to see that Leicester’s political leaders have taken this seriously. We are also very lucky to have such dedicated Council officers, promptly agreeing to carry out the cleaning work on a Sunday.
Some people have questioned why this is such a big issue. Others have even made light of it or tried to justify the sentiments being expressed.
For the avoidance of doubt let me be very clear. The graffiti applied to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue is not a legitimate political protest and it absolutely must not be justified under any circumstances.
The definition of terrorism is “the unauthorised use of violence or intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”. The desecration of this statue was unauthorised; it was an act of intimidation aimed at the mainly British Indian community living in Belgrave; and the purpose was wholly political.
It could be argued therefore that this act of vandalism also amounts to an act of terrorism. An act that was perpetrated by the same kind of closed-minded people who go on to commit far more dangerous acts, because they already have a blatant disregard for the rule of law. These people don’t want to convince us of their political beliefs; they want to force us into accepting them, and they’re prepared to break the law to do it.
We are lucky to live in a civilised western society built on the rule of law, human rights, freedom and democracy. Any transgression of these principles is an attack on all of us and our way of life. We must never justify any attempt to influence public discourse through the use violence, force or intimidation.
Thankfully I believe that this was an isolated incident and that these kinds of acts are very rare in Leicester. However we must always be prepared to stand together – people of all faiths and those of none – united against criminals and terrorists seeking to take the law into their own hands to advance their political beliefs.
Ultimately we have this statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Leicester for the same reason that we have Nelson Mandela Park and may soon have – thanks to Cllr Adam Clarke of Aylestone – a statue of Alice Hawkins: We choose to honour great people and inspire the next generation.
We will not be intimidated by stupid cowards who break the law.
Cllr Sundip Meghani
UPDATE: The statue of Mahatma Gandhi has now been cleaned. This was done within 24 hours by Leicester City Council officers. Photo credit: Emily Anderson, BBC News. Leicestershire Police are investigating and two arrests were made on 11 June 2014. Anyone with any information should contact Leicestershire Police on 0116 222 22 22.
Click here to listen to an interview I gave on the BBC Asian Network in March 2014.
Leicester people – of all faiths and none – will soon have an additional choice when it comes to honouring the lives of loved ones who have passed away.
Leicester City Council has committed to developing a new riverside memorial space within the city, where people will be able to safely, peacefully and legally disperse the cremated ashes of loved ones into the river.
This is not only welcome news for the city’s large Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities, for whom the consecration of cremated ashes is an important ritual, but it’s also welcome news for all Leicester residents; research shows that 1 in 10 people would like to be able to scatter the ashes of a loved one in this way.
It will also give each of us – the Council tax payers of Leicester – an added option when it comes to having our own mortal remains treated in a dignified way. For someone who always loved to go fishing for example, or enjoyed summertime swimming, or even felt a deep connection with the natural environment, this final journey may well be something comforting to include in any last will and testament.
Until now the nearest place where people could safely and legally scatter ashes onto water was at Barrow-upon-Soar. However this option is rather poor as it only accommodates very limited numbers; involves a 20-mile round trip; and costs upwards of a hundred pounds.
It is therefore very much to the credit of our City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby and his hardworking team, that we will soon have a simpler, cheaper and much more local space for the benefit of Leicester residents. I and several others have campaigned on this issue in recent months and I am glad that we are now taking this positive and pragmatic approach.
In regards to the specifics, the cabinet member for culture has advised me that the memorial space will be up-and-running by February 2014. Three potential sites have been selected and site visits and formal consultations will soon be commenced in order to pick the best location. Eventually we hope to have a site that is away from residential areas and one that runs in accordance with all relevant rules and regulations.
Overall most people would agree that talking about death has always been a bit of a taboo. But I think we ought to start taking a more responsible and practical approach to death and the grieving process. Ultimately we ought to do what we can to help make things less stressful and more manageable when our fellow citizens – including our friends and relatives – make that final transition into eternity.
In a way it’s a very bittersweet time of year. Many of us hope to spread happiness and joy to those we care about. At the same time we cannot ignore all the unhappiness in the world and the suffering that many people – and animals too – are being forced to endure.
Thankfully there are millions of decent conscientious people in our world of all backgrounds for whom the message of Christmas isn’t just confined to a few weeks in December. These are the same people who already spend so much time and energy trying to change our world for the better. And they are the same people who will continue to lead by example when all the festivities are over come January the 2nd.
There will come a time in the future when all suffering will be eliminated. This isn’t just a hope that I have but an absolute belief. Just as our species and the human body has gradually evolved and improved over millions of years, so human civilisation will also continue to become progressively enlightened.
A new world order is in our grasp and education is the key. Before the end of this century, science, truth, justice, peace and democracy will have become the fundamental pillars of life for all people, and medical science will have enhanced humanity beyond our wildest expectations. As we strive towards this new enlightenment however, I believe that we can and actively should encourage each other to be happier, and to embrace happiness as a way of life.
In a strange way happiness has become somewhat of a taboo subject. Those who are happy and those who seek to encourage greater happiness are often viewed with suspicion. I suspect this may be because for centuries the promise of happiness has been used by individuals and groups of people the world over to exploit fellow human beings. Even today we can do a simple online search to find countless people willing to help you find happiness – for a price.
Suspicions aside (hopefully) how many of us actually spend time really thinking about happiness or about ‘being happy’? Is it something that we allow our minds, bodies and souls to experience? Or do we more often than not delegate the idea of being happy to our future selves?
Sadly it is so much easier for us to focus on what we need and what we lack; on what we hate and on what causes us physical or emotional pain. Many people simply avoid thinking about happiness altogether, believing that it will inevitably come into their lives just as soon as they have enough money, and thus the freedom to purchase goods and services.
Whilst happiness is of course very subjective and personal to each and every one of us, philosophers and faith traditions throughout history have always cautioned against seeking happiness through money alone. Moreover studies have shown time and again that there’s more to happiness than just wealth and material possession.
A Gallup poll released just this week for example surveyed 150,000 people around the world and found that 7 of the 10 happiest nations on Earth are in Latin America. These countries, which included the likes of Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela and Costa Rica, also happen to be amongst the poorest nations in the world.
Happiness is by no means a fixed concept. Even today, scientists and scholars are trying to define, re-define and better understand exactly what happiness is and how we can experience it. Quite understandably then, there are numerous theories and approaches which seek to explain happiness, or at least identify the key ingredients from which it may be produced.
Psychologist Martin Seligman explained that happiness was an amalgamation of 5 things: pleasure; engaging activities; relationships with others; meaning and belonging; and accomplishments. Psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory of human motivation, which has become a fundamental principle in the world of business, consists of a hierarchy of 5 essential needs: physiological needs; safety; love / belonging; esteem; and self-actualisation.
Aristotle believed that unlike riches, honour, health or friendship; happiness was the only thing that humans desired for its own sake. He considered happiness to be an activity rather than an emotion or a physical state, and that ‘activity’ was the ‘practice of virtue’. The Buddhist approach is beautifully simple and an idea that I firmly agree with: compassion and generosity is more fun, and more fun leads to increased happiness! Put another way, the secret to happiness is making other living beings happy through compassion and generosity.
I believe that happiness begins in the mind through meditation. Also known as positive thinking or having a positive mental attitude, it is by far the easiest and most beneficial act that any one of us can take – to actually think ourselves happy. To create within our own personal consciousness a state of mental and emotional well-being, which in turn flows outwards like ripples in a pond, and encompasses our physical bodies and the world around us. Interestingly it would seem that science and evolution also concurs with this approach.
The human brain weighs around three pounds and has tripled in size as our ancestors evolved over the last 2 million years. Thanks to our frontal lobes, we as a species are now completely unique in the world, in that we have the ability to simulate the future and visualise actions or products before they exist in real life.
This also gives us the psychological ability to ‘synthesise happiness’ and to change our view of the world, so as to make ourselves feel better about our circumstances. In other words, we have what it takes within our own minds to create happiness and to feel happier, irrespective of the world around us. Having a positive mental attitude therefore – and thinking positive – actually works!
This extraordinary finding has been backed up with reliable data and scientific study by the eminent Harvard psychologist Professor Dan Gilbert. Gilbert also suggests that paradoxically we believe that synthetic happiness is not the same as natural happiness. That is to say, people assume that self-taught, self-proclaimed happiness is not as enriching or as rewarding as the happiness that comes from actually getting something that we want.
However his research has also found that this assumption is mistaken. When measured in controlled experiments, Gilbert found that “synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for”. Whilst some may mock the idea of synthetic happiness, in the real world and in the human mind, there is no differential between synthetic happiness and naturally occurring happiness.
So there we have it: the secret to happiness is to ‘fake it until you make it’. You can either be unhappy or less happy until you find happiness by getting what you want, or you can create happiness seemingly out of nothingness inside your own mind; a happiness that will be beneficial and fulfilling to your emotional, mental and physical well-being, and allow you to spread even greater happiness to other living beings through compassion and generosity.
Ultimately, I believe we need a lot more happiness in the world, and I think we shouldn’t be afraid to do something about it.
I wish all my friends, relatives, colleagues and constituents a very happy Christmas, a very happy New Year, and a very happy and fulfilling future.
Letter published in the Leicester Mercury newspaper on 28 November 2012
I was dismayed to read this letter from T Green in the Mercury on 22 November; one of several recent letters and online comments from people jumping on the Clarissa Dickson Wright bandwagon. Thankfully I’ve also seen more sensible letters from Ann Collins and Eddie Sentance amongst others, reflecting the true face of Leicester people, and the common decency and human compassion that most of us share.
Firstly in response to T Green: I hate to break it to you, but you appear to be suffering from a bout of xenophobia. Take 2 visits with friends to an Indian restaurant and perhaps a place of worship, followed by a long hard look in the mirror. If symptoms persist contact your nearest library and try reading a few good books. Before long you will discover that humans of different ethnicity are biologically identical, and that different cultures – like different languages – are not something to be afraid of, but something to be embraced; i.e. you have to make a bit of an effort in order to understand something that’s a tad different to what you’re used to. Good luck with your recovery!
As for poor Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the things she said in her widely reported remarks was that she once got lost in a part of Leicester and none of the Muslim men would talk to her. Well to be honest I’m not Muslim myself, but if fox-hunting enthusiast Clarissa Dickson Wright came barrelling towards me on a Leicester side street, I’d probably ignore her too. On a serious note I did find her comments about Leicester to be both idiotic and exaggerated. But it was one particular phrase that really caught my attention, where she casually questioned whether or not multiculturalism actually works.
Now of course I don’t have enough column inches here to run through all the reasoned arguments as to why multiculturalism does work, has worked and will continue to work in the future. (Or for that matter to try and give Clarissa Dickson Wright and all her fans a much needed education). But for the sake of brevity I will simply say this: Saint George was an Arab, the Royal family is German, our national dish is Indian and our most gifted Olympians are of African descent. Questioning multiculturalism is akin to questioning evolution: both are part and parcel of the human story. The sooner we accept that and move on to creating for ourselves a life of purpose and fulfilment in this increasingly globalised society, the better off we’ll be.
This has been a truly historic year for our city. Not only did we celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in style by welcoming Her Majesty to Leicester; we also played host to both the Olympic and Paralympic flames.
But 2012 also has another historical significance for us here in Leicester as we mark the fortieth anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan Asian immigrants to the city.
In 1972 all Asian people in Uganda were expelled by the dictator Idi Amin. They were given 90 days to leave or face being put into concentration camps. Most were lucky to escape with their lives but they had virtually everything taken away from them.
Around 25,000 Ugandan Asians held British passports. However; despite this, the Conservative Government at the time tried desperately to avoid letting them come here.
Britain was a very different place in 1972: the economy was stagnating with strikes and a three-day week; and there were anti-immigration protests across the country spurred on by the likes of Enoch Powell and the National Front.
In the end, the Government relented and a huge resettlement effort began. More than 10,000 Ugandan Asians eventually settled in Leicester, and my father and his family were among them.
The impact of the Ugandan Asian migration has been immense. In the beginning, when Leicester’s manufacturing base was in decline, the arrival of thousands of hardworking entrepreneurial people breathed new life into the city’s economy.
Over these last 40 years we’ve seen our very own Little India develop around the Golden Mile. Asian culture imported from East Africa has influenced everything from food to fashion, from festivals to friendships.
For me, Leicester isn’t just the city that I happen to have been born in, Leicester is a community of kind-hearted and decent people; a community that 40 years ago accepted – albeit reluctantly – an unprecedented amount of change; and a community that is now not only at peace with its diversity, but proud of it.
As the son and grandson of immigrants, who was born and raised on a Leicester Council estate, it fills me with great pride that I’m now able to serve Leicester residents of all backgrounds as an elected representative on the City Council.
This Thursday evening I will proudly put forward a motion in the Council chamber – with the support of my Labour colleagues – to publicly recognise the significant contribution that Ugandan Asians have made to the social, economic and cultural life of our city.
Here’s to whatever the future may bring for our One Leicester community.
Cllr Sundip Meghani
This is the full text of the motion that I will bring to Council on 13 September 2012:
“This Council marks the 40th anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan Asians seeking refuge in the city of Leicester. We recognise the hard work and determination of the Ugandan Asian community and the significant contribution that they have made to the social, economic and cultural life of our city. We condemn efforts to discourage those fleeing persecution from coming here, and we are as proud today as we have always been to celebrate the diversity and unity, that makes Leicester such a wonderful place to live and work.”
Click here to read more about why I’m bringing this motion to Council. Also click the video below to watch a recent interview that I gave to Citizens Eye on this issue.
Exactly a year ago today residents in Beaumont Leys voted to elect me as one of their local Labour Councillors to serve on Leicester City Council.
It was a tremendous honour and a huge privilege to have been entrusted to represent the views of local people, especially as I’ve lived in the area since I was 7 years old. Also as the son of immigrants, who came to this country from East Africa fleeing persecution, and as someone who was born and raised on a council estate in Leicester, it was particularly poignant to have been chosen to serve on the very Council that had once supported me and my family when times were tough.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love my party and my politics, but to be honest my love of politics merely stems from my love of people. That may sound like an awful cliché but it is the truth. In-fact I believe that if you’re not a people person and you don’t genuinely thrive on being able to solve problems and help make peoples’ lives that much easier, then you shouldn’t seek to hold public office.
Whereas if you have a passion for putting people first, for lifting hopes and aspirations, for fighting social injustice, and for leading by example and working hard, then politics isn’t just a career choice, it’s a moral imperative; an obligation to use your skills and expertise to serve the public and to try and make a difference in the world.
It’s been an incredible year and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’m grateful to my good friend Vijay Riyait and all the wonderful people mentioned in this post who worked tirelessly on the election campaign.
In addition to working closely with my fellow Councillors in holding regular ward surgeries, attending residents association meetings and carrying out specific casework and solving problems on behalf of constituents, here’s a summary of my other activities and achievements during my first 12 months as a Leicester City Councillor:
Appointed as a Member of the Leicestershire Police Authority and attended numerous Authority and sub-committee meetings.
The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture which forms part of the ancient Sanskrit epic ‘Mahabharata’. The Gita dates back thousands of years, and is a conversation that takes place on a battlefield between Lord Krishna and the hero prince Arjuna, in the midst of a struggle between the forces of good and evil. Responding to Arjuna’s confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, who have imposed tyranny on a disputed empire, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and as a prince. In doing so, Lord Krishna talks about yoga, samkhya, reincarnation, moksha, karma yoga, jnana yoga and other topics, all of which now form the core beliefs of Hinduism. Click below to hear the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita.
A very good friend of mine recently gave me a lovely book entitled ‘The Wisdom of the Hindu Gurus’. As I flicked through the first few pages a quote by Sri Aurobindo caught my eye: “That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion because it embraces all others.” I really like this quote because it perfectly sums up the way I feel about God and religion, and the way in which I feel my spirituality has been enhanced in recent months.
On my 30th birthday last week I chose to spend the first half of the day by myself visiting 8 different places of worship around Leicester. My journey began at around 11am and over the course of 8 hours I visited the Progressive Jewish Synagogue, the Holy Cross Priory Catholic Church, the Jain Centre, the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, the Central Mosque, the Nagarjuna Kadampa Buddhist Centre, the Cathedral and the Shree Sanatan Mandir.
At the Synagogue I met a number of people and a gentleman named Alex gave me a tour. We had an interesting discussion about the history of the Abrahamic faiths as he showed me the Torah Scrolls. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Alex was born almost exactly 50 years before I was and that he was planning to celebrate his 80th birthday in March. The stained glass window with the tree of life and the Ten Commandments looked really beautiful, particularly as it was such a sunny day.
After visiting the Synagogue I drove back into the city centre and attended Mass at the Holy Cross Priory Catholic church. I always enjoy visiting this church and I have been here several times before. The building itself is large and imposing and there is a stunning huge crucifix hanging from the ceiling. I walked around, lit a candle and quietly enjoyed the ambience, before taking a seat and observing Holy Mass which began at 12.30pm.
A short walk from the church is the Jain Centre, which like every one of the places I visited on my journey, is fascinating, welcoming and has a very distinct feel about it. The intricate wooden architecture surrounding the temple itself is simply breathtaking and the stained glass windows are a real sight to see. Apart from a lady who was attending to the deities I was the sole visitor in the temple that afternoon and I spent a very peaceful hour without uttering a single word.
The Guru Nanak Gurdwara is about a 5 minute walk from the Jain Centre. The thing I really love about visiting Gurdwaras is the contrast between the wonderful bustling atmosphere in the kitchen and the calm and peace inside the main temple. Again the sun was shining through the windows and again there were friendly people around eager to welcome a stranger in their midst. I wandered upstairs and spent a good while examining the many historical portraits that hang in the lobby of the Sikh museum. The museum is one of the features of this particular Gurdwara and well worth a visit.
A short drive from the Gurdwara is Leicester’s Central Mosque located behind the train station on Conduit Street. This was only my second ever visit to a mosque and unlike the first time where I was given a guided tour this time I was by myself. The entire mosque was completely empty as it wasn’t a designated prayer time and so I sat alone in the enormous prayer hall as the sun shone through the many large windows. It was silent and tranquil and extremely beautiful and I also really enjoyed examining the Arabic calligraphy on the walls.
The wonderfully named World Peace Café at the Nagarjuna Kadampa Buddhist Centre was a hive of activity on the day I visited. It was really great to see so many people enjoying this delightful retreat on an otherwise busy Saturday afternoon. The meditation room looked magnificent with a collection of deities and a large statue of Buddha as the central focal point. As I looked out of the windows of the meditation room I noticed a wall topped with rather vicious looking barbed wire; a very interesting juxtaposition between the serenity of this Holy room and the outside world.
After a quick chai tea and a visit to the gift shop I walked around the corner to the Cathedral. The Cathedral is one of my favourite places in the city and I’ve been here many times. The building itself is huge and there’s certainly a great deal to see, yet it also feels intimate and welcoming, and it’s hard not to feel at peace when spending time here. I had a long and pleasant conversation with a man named John who works here as a verger. We discussed everything from faith and family to prayer and politics. I hadn’t realised until my visit that the Cathedral is actually open every single day of the year, which I think is absolutely brilliant.
The final stop on my pilgrimage around Leicester was the Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir in Belgrave. I have been to this temple numerous times and it is one of my favourite mandirs in the city. There was certainly a lot going on when I visited with people praying, talking, laughing and singing. It felt really vibrant and colourful. I always find that Hindu temples are particularly lively and exciting places to visit in the evening, which is when special aarti prayers take place.
I had a most uplifting and enjoyable experience visiting these 8 different places of worship around Leicester. I was warmly welcomed everywhere I went by people I had never met before, and not a single person asked me who I was, why I was there, or what faith I belonged to if any.
The thing that really struck me however wasn’t man-made at all. It was the brightness and the warmth of the sunlight which followed me around the city everywhere I went that day. Just as the sunlight lit up the tree of life at the Synagogue and the images of Lord Mahavira in the Jain Temple; so it also lit up the stained glass windows in the churches and the calligraphy on the walls of the Central Mosque.
The visual symbolism alone really blew my mind and it served to remind me that the life-giving, heart-warming and unconditional love of sunlight doesn’t differentiate between the many paths to God. I may have been wandering around Leicester by myself for 8 hours on that day, but with the sun on my face and with sunlight cascading through the windows everywhere I went, I certainly didn’t feel alone.
The Iron Lady is an excellent film and well worth seeing if only for Meryl Streep’s mesmerising performance as Margaret Thatcher.
The film is different to what I expected and certainly not a drama or political thriller; more of a biographical recollection.
Essentially the viewer is taken on a journey of flashbacks which recall Thatcher’s life from her own perspective, or rather, the perspective of an aging and lonely old woman suffering from dementia.
The flashbacks begin with Thatcher’s early life and political career, and gradually move on to a variety of highlights from her time as Leader of the Opposition, and then as Prime Minister.
In a way the film is simplistic in that it focuses almost exclusively on Thatcher as a woman, who admittedly had to fight hard to get ahead in a completely male dominated Conservative Party, and later the British political establishment itself. It’s also a very sad and emotive film and may be particularly poignant for those of a strong political persuasion.
For those on the right a once strong and powerful Thatcher is now weak and powerless. For those of us on the left this divisive and often inhumane figure is very much humanised by the indiscriminate effects of time and aging.
The worst thing about the film is a very unconvincing performance from Richard E. Grant who plays Michael Heseltine. Not only did he not look the part whatsoever but it felt as if he hadn’t really bothered to study his subject or try to capture the essence of the man.
Nevertheless barring one or two historical inaccuracies, such as for instance Thatcher’s location when Airey Neave was killed, this is a very watchable film thanks to Streep’s remarkable portrayal.
I particularly enjoyed watching her mannerisms and body language and the way she captured Thatcher’s personality at two very different times in her life. It is fair to say however that the accuracy of the latter portrayal of a senile Margaret Thatcher is debateable, because of the criticism that the film has attracted from Thatcher’s own family.
Overall I would certainly recommend watching the film, and embracing the sadness that comes with seeing a strong person become old, frail and forgetful; a process to which we will all bear witness eventually.
In the words of Berthold Auerbach, “Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” Enjoy these memorable excerpts from 75 of the most stunning pieces of classical music ever produced. Click through to the original YouTube videos for details of the individual piece and composer.