And remember black people are inherently conservative.

Posted 30 Dec 2012 by Walaa Idris

On today’s Telegraph, Paul Goodman outlined HERE four main reasons why 2013 will be “a mere staging – post on a journey towards a possible Labour – led government.” The four reasons are; the issue of ethnic minority voters, same sex marriage, and a united left and the electoral geography.

I mostly agree with Paul and would add an observation in the hopes that my party picks up on it. But first some background. Obviously I am black and an immigrant but what might not be very obvious to many is that I am no Johnny come lately to either politics or the Conservative Party. I grow up in a politically charged household, but my first organised political outing was as a Republican supporter and an activist, back in the 1980s when I lived in the US. I later joined the UK Conservatives in 2000. Ever since, I have been politically active in one way or another. There has been many occasions when I was the only dark face in the room but I never once felt as an outsider, was always warmly received and allowed the space to participate in as much or as little as I wanted. However, there have been numerous times when black/brown people called me a traitor, a sell-out and I was even once described as a lost sister drifting where she doesn’t belong. Similar to the stuff we hear Diane Abbott MP from time to time publicly says about non-white Conservatives.

Before I go further and for the record, I am not saying any of this to plug or promote myself, but to share what I learned from personal and others experiences.

When it comes to politics, the rules are different and can be extremely complicated. In most relationships, once people reach a certain understanding they are free to move on secure in the knowledge that their main work is done and all they need to do is nurture the relationship from time to time. Sort of keep an eye and make sure all is well and going to plan. Not in politics. And definitely not today, where the majority of people are already disillusioned with politics and thousands can be reached and touched with 140 charters or via ticking a Like on Facebook. Today’s politicians need to be more genuine, very consistent and super vigilant than ever before.

This brings me to the purpose of this post and the issue of ethnic minority voters and our party. Keep in mind that according to the latest censuses, ethnic minorities make a large and rapidly growing portion of our society. Which means it is a group we MUST look after properly.

The Conservative party like most the country thinks ethnic minorities are one big pot and any none white in the Cabinet, heading a committee or chairing a major issue is a representative of the whole group. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Ethnics of African origin are very different to those from Asian descent and even Afro-Caribbean , while for years we paid lots of attention to Asians whether Hindus or Kashmirs, when it comes to those of African ancestry we still need to converse and do more (and that is before we even break it down into East, West, North and South).

Speaking of Africans only here, these conversations do not necessarily need to be about the obvious issues of crime, absent fathers and truancy because these topics are not too dominant to this particular group plus they are fully covered by all political parties. However, we as a party need to carry out general conversations about life, visions, and aspirations, about being a part of the bigger UK family, because this particular group is keen to fit and belong. In addition to that, the more we talk and listen the more we learn about each other. It might sound simple but it is a win, win situation.

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