I became interested in politics as a result of my upbringing. My father would take a position on an issue and encourage me to pick it apart. The next week I would take a position on the other side of the political divide and he would pick my argument apart. What this taught me was that you can believe passionately in a particular way to run the country, but in politics there is no such thing as a monopoly on the truth. I work on the assumption that everybody in Parliament is genuinely engaged in trying to improve things, even if they have different ideas from me about how they think we should go about that.
My constituency (Ealing Central and Acton) is incredibly diverse, and at first I thought it would be a challenge – how do you unite such disparate community groups, all with different needs? But having spent the best part of 7 years working with local community groups, I know that what unites people is stronger than what divides them. People by and large want the same thing – to be rewarded for working hard, to be able to look after their families, and for the Government to interfere with their lives as little as possible, but to provide the services they need for themselves, their businesses and families.
I think we are so lucky, not just in Ealing, but across the UK to have such a vibrant and engaged Indian diaspora. They are one of the many groups I have met and worked with during my time as an MP, candidate and London Assembly member. I have always been struck by how focused they tend to be on hard work, achievement and entrepreneurial spirit – values which chime with me as a Conservative. Perhaps what has struck me more, is how giving the community is. I think the rest of us could learn a lot from the Indian diaspora’s sense of not leaving people to cope alone with problems, and of families rallying together at times of need. I think that supporting others in times of crisis, and being perhaps the ‘first responder’ is such an important service to the wider community. To be able to help and support people, before they hit rock bottom is a real benefit to all concerned.
I sincerely hope that I can continue to work with the people of Ealing, representing their concerns in Parliament, and being part of a team that is working hard to fix the economy and creating record numbers of jobs, so that we can all leave a more secure future for the next generation.