David Cameron: Conservatives will have first black or Asian PM

Earlier this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron said that the Conservatives will be the first party in the UK to have a black or Asian PM.

“The prime minister told an audience in south London he looked forward to the day, as he outlined plans to increase the number of ethnic minority Tory MPs,” reports BBC.

“In 2015, [the Conservatives are] fielding 56 candidates from black and Asian communities. Labour is fielding 52 ethnic minority candidates.

“‘We are the first party to have a female prime minister, we were the party of the first Jewish prime minister and I know one day, we are going to be the party of the first black or Asian prime minister,’ [said Cameron].”

Read the full story here.



Reactions (so far) to ‘Neela hai Aasma’

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‘Neela hai Aasma’: The first Hindi campaign song in UK election history

‘Neela hai Aasma’ (Blue Sky) is the first Hindi campaign song in UK election history. Youtube release date: 24/04/2015.

Written, composed and produced by Pandit Dinesh
Vocals by Navin Kundra & Rubayyatt Jahan
Instrumental (Flute) by Baqir Abbas

The essential meaning of the Hindi song translated into English is as follows:

The sky is blue and glorious
This is the colour of Britain’s pride
Let’s join together with this blue colour
Let’s join hands with David Cameron
Who will take us forward together

Your dreams will be fulfilled
He’ll keep his commitments
The job which David has started
He’s determined to finish
Stay with him
Trust him
And give him your full support

Eastern Eye Election Debate with Shailesh Vara

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On Monday, the Dhamecha Lohana Community Centre in North London hosted the second round of the Eastern Eye election debates. Moderated by the eminent Nihal (or “Poundland Paxman”, as he referred to himself last week) from the BBC Asian Network, Lord Dholakia (Lib Dems), Barry Gardiner (Labour) and Shailesh Vara (Conservatives) discussed a range of topics including immigration, the health service, British-Indian relations, education, safety and caste legislation.

Some of the highlights from the debate:

A Government for Whom?

Labour repeatedly make the claim that the Conservative led government is a government for the few. They say this despite record job numbers, despite a growing economy, despite a deficit reduced by half, and despite income tax cut for 26 million people. They say this despite a Conservative manifesto that promises no income tax for anyone on minimum wage, increased state pension, and 30 hours of free child care for children aged 3-4.

“It’s not good enough!”

Curious! Now, what else do they say?

Well, they like telling people what this election really is about.

In a recent interview with Evan Davis, Mr Miliband said that talk about jobs “goes back to the big argument of this election”. The Labour Party leader said he doesn’t believe that 2,000,000 new jobs means that the economy is “fixed”. In fact, he believes most of the new jobs aren’t even that good.

In the same interview, when Evan Davis asked Mr Miliband about what looks like reduced crime rates, the Labour leader said “let’s go back to the big argument of this election”, repeating his view that simply because things seem to be better, it doesn’t mean that they are.

And when Evan Davis mentioned university tuition fees, and the fact that the number of people from disadvantaged backgrounds who go to university has gone up by a third, Mr Miliband asked: “Does that mean that the country is fixed? It goes to the big argument of this election. Is this good enough for Britain?”

Despite improving conditions for everyone, Mr Miliband is clearly convinced that the current government is one for the few, oppressing the many.

Now, we don’t believe that any Conservative would argue that the UK is “fixed” (did anyone say that?) – but many would argue that (just to take one example) 2,000,000 new jobs in 5 years is an indication that the country is on the right path. There certainly weren’t any new jobs to speak of when Labour last left the boat, and we doubt there will be many more when and if they assume the role of puppet government under the Scottish Nationalists.

Over the course of the last 5-7 years, Labour representatives have been wrong about many things. They were wrong on immigration, they were wrong on the economy, and they were wrong about jobs. Now, Ed Miliband is wrong again. The big argument of this election isn’t whether or not you believe the country is “fixed”. The big argument is always the same, and it’s much simpler than that: does this country need a new course?

If you are of the opinion that Labour would mean a new and better course for this nation, then you are certainly entitled to that opinion. And if you are of that opinion, then please e-mail us and tell us why, because there are some questions we would like to ask you. For example, what course would that be? We don’t really know what Mr Miliband’s plan is. And: Why do you think that more spending and more borrowing is better for the UK, when that is what led us to economic ruin? Why would you like to pay for that again in five years from now? These are just some of our questions.

We’re not really trying to make the argument that Labour are completely hapless, but we are, nonetheless, convinced that their political outlook is fundamentally incorrect. To callously ignore facts that testify to progress and success is to reveal a private agenda that reeks of sheer lust for power, and nothing else. Ed Miliband wants us to believe that the government is working against us – he would also like us to believe that he, without any discernible plan, would work for us.

This, however, is what we really believe:

In GE2015, it’s an election between sticking to the plan — which we now know is working — or pushing the boat out into dark and uncovered waters in the hope that Ed sees something that the rest of us can’t.


Theme of the Week: Well-Being

If you could wish for one thing, what would it be? Peace in the hearts of all, and peace amongst all nations?
A healthy population, we believe, is at the heart of a healthy society. This week, Election Masala focuses in on well-being.

NEIL PATEL is the founder of Chi Kri, a Health, Fitness and Well-being company.  42 year old Neil has taught yoga and trained yoga teachers for a quarter of a century. He has worked for large corporations like HSBC, and has had the fortune to take his trade all around the world. He is the director of the United Nations International Yoga Day in London.

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“In 2000 I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but refused all treatment only use yoga to combat the illness,” says the yoga expert.

He has released 3 books, a few audio CD & DVDs and has also invented Hip Hop Yoga.

Election Masala: What, according to you, is the British Indian community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

Neil: Yoga — the introduction of yoga teachers here has given the UK a new spiritual identity that is non-religious, but which at the same time can give white, black and Asian a united spiritual base, and without the need to convert or change religious status.

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What has been your proudest British Indian moment?

I gave a speech about yoga to an audience at the Indian High Commissioner’s office.

What is your definition of well being and how can it be ensured in today’s times?

Well-being is being able to sleep with a clear heart, wake with a peaceful mind, and eat slowly without the need to rush. Well-being is being focused on all activates with laser-like concentration, it is the ability to remain unperturbed by trials and to be confident when challenges approach you. It is the ability to be strong when life demands it, and sensitive, compassionate and patient when others are suffering before you. Well-being is not health, well-being is deeper than all physical matters, it is peace with one’s own self through illness, bereavement and financial loss. The way to achieve all these things is through meditation.

As a British Indian, what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

They represent aspirational thinking and success.

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If you could wish for one thing, what would it be?

Peace in the hearts of all, and amongst all nations in their interactions with each other.

SOWMYA BHARANI has a doctoral degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from King’s College London. Having worked as a drug tester with the Anti Doping Agency in the London Olympics and Paralympics 2012, she volunteered as a research dietitian for the diabetics departments at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. She runs her own nutrition and diet consultancy service on Harley Street, London, and works closely with various schools all around London in order to improve the nutritional status of children and to help prevent childhood obesity.

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Says Sowmya, “I have also conducted a nutrition education programme for school children and parents who might be susceptible to eating disorders. Moreover, I have introduced cutting edge technology to improve the lives of my clients by promoting nutrigenomics or DNA based diets. We analyse a clients’ DNA and analyse what diseases they are susceptible to and based on that I counsel my clients to help prevent the disease.”


Election Masala: What, according to you, is the British Indian community’s biggest contribution to the UK?

Sowmya: There are more than one million people of Indian origin here in the UK and it would be unfair to name one attribute. However in my opinion the brain power which the British Indian community contributes to UK is obvious for anyone to see — from the number of students who contribute significantly to the research being conducted in the UK, to the heads of various organisations who help to drive the economy of this country.

The Conservative party values aspiration, hard work, family and service above self. As a British Indian what personal values do you associate with the Conservative party?

I associate myself with aspiration, because that drives me to do well for my self, friends and family. Aspiration is what made me start my own business in the UK despite knowing very well that there would be some difficult times ahead.

When you think of the word ‘achiever’, who comes to mind and why?

Lakshmi Mittal is the name that comes to mind when I think of achievers in the UK. I am inspired by him not because of the amount of money that he has earned, but because of the sheer grit and determination with which he has built his own empire. Coming to the UK and settling down decades ago must have been very challenging. Moreover, achievements mean nothing if it does not help the betterment of society. Not only does his business provide opportunities for thousands of people, but his philanthropic work is also well known. His biggest achievement is that he is an inspiration to generations of Indians settling down in the UK and he shows that anything is possible if one works hard enough.
What has been your proudest British Indian moment?

The unveiling of the Gandhi statue in London as this for me symbolised the strength of the British Indian community in the UK and the respect the Conservative party shows this community.

If you can wish for one thing, what would it be?

I would wish for more opportunities and support for British Indians, especially for those with entrepreneurial inclinations. A louder voice for women in business and politics would help drive the society and economy forward.


Nick de Bois: A £1,500 discount, and almost no-one knew!

In this video, Nick de Bois, the Conservative candidate for Enfield North (MP 2010-2015), talks about local small business (and a particular type of discount that many didn’t know they were entitled to…).

For more about Mr de Bois, follow him on Twitter @NickdeBois or visit his website.

The Best Quotes from David Cameron’s speech at Gravesend Gurdwara

Prime Minister David Cameron visited Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend, Kent on Saturday, where he took part in the festival of Vaisakhi. In a 10-minute address to the worshippers present, Mr Cameron went to great lengths to describe his relationship with the British Sikh community. Below are some of the best quotes from the Prime Minister’s speech. 

“I am the first British Prime Minister to have visited the Golden Temple, and that makes me so proud. The visit was intense and fascinating. I will never forget the tranquillity of that beautiful, peaceful place, or meeting the remarkable worshippers who call this temple their own.”

“What I saw in the Golden Temple, I see in British Sikhs day in and day out. Your devotion to God, just how hard you work, and the thing that is at the centre of everything that you do: community.”

“You can see it in our hospitals, in our schools, in our businesses all around the country: hard work runs through your veins, and the combination of hard work, courage, service and loyalty runs through your history, too.”

“I look back over the last five years of being a Prime Minister, and I think: who was there in the storms, helping people flooded out of their homes? It was British Sikhs. Who was there in the riots, protecting Gurdwaras, and Hindu temples and Mosques, too? It was British Sikhs […] Every single day, British Sikhs help make Britain great, and you prove one thing: our country is not just red, white and blue — it is orange,too.”

“We support you in your devotion, in your work, in your commitment to your community. We support you every step of the way. Remember that we were the ones who banned turban searches at airports, and who said that Sikhs could wear turbans at work. We’re the ones with Paul Uppal, the only serving Sikh MP, and with Ranbir Suri in the House of Lords, too. In 19 days, I’m hoping that Paul will no longer be the only one on the commons benches, because from Samir in East Ham to Suria in Wolverhampton, we’ve got some great Sikh candidates.”

Samir Jassal: Cameron’s the first PM to join us for Vaisakhi (Video)

Samir Jassal, the Conservative candidate for East Ham, played a large role in organizing the Prime Minister’s visit to Gravesend Gurdwara on April 18. In this video, the young candidate comments on how India-UK relations have changed under David Cameron.

“He has not just put his hand out and said ‘we’re here for you’ — we’ve actually done things and resolved issues that concern the Sikh community, so I think he’s been revolutionary in that sense,” said Jassal.

Priti Patel: I have seen first hand David Cameron’s commitment to India (Video)

Earlier today Prime Minister David Cameron joined in the celebration of Vaisakhi at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend, Kent. 

Mr Cameron was accompanied by his India Diaspora Champion (MP for Witham 2010-2015), Ms Priti Patel. In the video below, Ms Patel talks about some of her experiences of engaging with India and the Indian community in the UK.