A recent report by British Future — the community integration think tank – highlighted some interesting changes to the ethnic make-up of prospective parliamentary candidates. Remarkably, the Conservative Party garnered most praise in the report, and this for putting up as many minority candidates as Labour. This reflects the success of David Cameron’s drive to diversify the party base and it is good to see that Tories are at the heart of a big change in Westminster. The incoming diversity of cultural experience will enrich and inform all aspects of British policy, making Britain better prepared for the opportunities of the future, particularly those presented by the rise of Asia.
Many of the Party’s key thinkers and rising stars such as Sajid Javid (Culture Secretary) and Priti Patel (Secretary to the Treasury) are products of David Cameron’s modernisation drive. This heralds a point where political power in the UK is no longer held by a closeted elite that is exclusively white, middle class and male. The Tory party is being rejuvenated by the modernisation project, as it increasingly makes inroads into key minority communities, including British Hindus and Sikhs. The new faces at the apex of Cameron’s power structure are increasingly non-white and female, a prospect which is likely to cause the Labour party no little discomfort in the years to come. The path to continued Tory majorities in the 2020 election and after is slowly being opened up, as each election cycle sees more minorities join the middle class and become sympathetic to the Tories. David Cameron is fully realising the essence of Conservatism — that hard work is the means by which people succeed, irrespective of their background and the prejudices they may face, for all communities.
The modernised Tory party, with many female and minority candidates, delivered a sizeable victory in 2010 that left Labour demoralised and saved Britain from financial and economic disaster, in addition to opening a path to the top for more non-white MPs. Today the PM stands as a successful incumbent leader, running on a platform of economic success against a very unpopular opposition leader, which is why I think he will win convincingly, as I strongly suggested in my previous article. In addition, he heads a changed party that reflects the aspirations of a more diverse Britain, which will strengthen the Tories’ standing among minority voters in future.
The cultural diversity of this new ‘avatar’ of the Tory party is very advantageous when it comes to developing ties with such dynamic regions of the world as Asia. Mr Cameron has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of trade and security initiatives with both India and China in waiting. His special relationship with India is yielding real gains in trade, a relationship that been substantially enhanced by the increasing support of British Indians. At a time when Europe’s future is uncertain, outreach to India through Indian origin Britons gives the UK the advantage of a strategic partnership with a major new world power, which is itself now ruled by a dynamic and reformist conservative party. Indian origin MPs such as Priti Patel, the Indian diaspora champion, are playing a strong role in outreach to this emerging giant economy, demonstrating that minority MPs with strong cultural links outside the EU have significant utility, as opposed to being useful only for mere political tokenism.
I suspect that this modernisation will positively impact both the party and the country in a very positive way, long after David Cameron has left office. Along with education reform and economic growth, it will stand as one of his greatest legacies.