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The Election Masala Team


Cllr Jogia: Save Harrow from Labour

With only one day to go before the nation goes out to the Polling Booths, Election Masala caught up with Cllr Ameet Jogia in one of the most closely contested seats in the UK – Harrow East.

Cllr Jogia, a lifelong resident of Harrow, urged residents to “keep Harrow blue and save it from the clutches of Labour”.

“Labour constantly refer to the Tories as the privileged few in Harrow,” said Jogia. “We are not the privileged few, but the privileged few hundred thousand hard working residents who take pride in making Harrow one of the most attractive places to live in outer London. With our excellent schools, parks and homes we cannot afford to let Labour in and wreck this.

“Harrow is famous for being the aspiration borough. It’s full of thousands of people who have worked hard all their life, many coming to the borough penniless, to build a better life for their families. Labour call it privilege, we call it hard work.

“Whilst Labour think they support the most ‘vulnerable’, they don’t. They stifle aspiration and hold back the very people they seek to represent. We cannot let this culture seep into Harrow and we must do everything we can to keep this aspirational spirit in Harrow.

“The Conservatives empower people to be the very best they can be. They reward hard work and promote lower taxes, giving people the right to keep their money, giving them the freedom to spend it on what matters to them most.

“It’s painful to see the unions coming in their masses storming our much loved streets of Harrow. Letting Labour into Harrow would be a disaster for our borough, a step backwards for everything we have achieved.

“I urge residents to protect Harrow by keeping Labour out on May 7th.

Hendon: 6 Reasons To Vote For Matthew Offord

The Big Day is finally here! It’s May 7th, you’re in the polling booth, and you’re holding that stubby old pencil in your hand… Now – where to put your cross?

20% of the population is still undecided – we think that’s far too many. Today, we’d like to help some of you to decide.

Here’s why you should vote for Matthew Offord.

  1. He’ll give you greater power over the NHS

Matthew supports the idea that people should be able to influence the way the NHS operates in their area. He thinks that local people should have a greater say about what services they’re offered, and that GPs should have the power to meet the needs of local people.

A vote for Matthew is a vote for a more personal and more flexible NHS.

  1. He’ll continue to work to improve the Northern Line and Thameslink

“As a Hendon resident I am a regular user of the Northern Line and understand how important it is that hard working commuters and other Tube and train users have a smooth and comfortable journey,” says Matthew.

A vote for Matthew is a vote for an easier journey into central London.

  1. He’ll support the creation of new Free Schools

“We all want opportunities for our children and education is a key priority,” says Matthew. “The Government believes that teachers – not politicians and bureaucrats – should control schools.”

Matthew wants heads of schools and teachers to be given greater power to help disruptive pupils. He want schools to be able to provide specialist education for those who need it. He believes that the ‘Academy Status’ and Free Schools are means to an improved and more successful early education system.

A vote for Matthew is a vote for better schools.

  1. He’ll continue to support small businesses

“Living in Hendon, I use local shops regularly,” Matthew says. “I will press for more measures to support small businesses in our area which are the lifeblood of our communities.”

A vote for Matthew is a vote for more jobs. It is a vote for greater opportunity.

  1. He’ll press for lower taxes

50,000 Hendon residents already pay lower taxes. Matthew will continue to press for an increased tax-free allowance.

A vote for Matthew is a vote for more money in your pocket.

  1. He’ll crack down on crime

“A priority is to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour and the causes of crime which produce so much anxiety among local people,” says Matthew.

“Under Labour the police spent 50% more time on paperwork than they did out on patrol. Labour’s obsession with targets and box-ticking hindered the fight against crimes like burglary.”

A vote for Matthew is a vote for feeling safer at home.


6 Reasons to Vote for Mary Macleod

The Big Day is finally here! It’s May 7th, you’re in the polling booth, and you’re holding that stubby old pencil in your hand… Now – where to put your cross?

20% of the population is still undecided – we think that’s far too many. Today, we’d like to help some of you to decide.

Here’s why you should vote for Mary Macleod (Chiswick, Brentford, Isleworth, Osterley and Hounslow).

  1. She’ll campaign for more schools

“I want to make sure that we are identifying sites for schools quickly and efficiently and I am keen to help make sure we get more schools as soon as possible,” says Mary.

Over the last five years, Mary has been one of Parliament’s strongest voices for an improved schools situation. She is adamant that all children have access to excellent education, and she has worked in close co-operation with the Department for Education, Houslow Council, faith groups, parents and teachers to ensure that all schools are able to accommodate the needs of students.

A vote for Mary is a vote for better schools for everyone.

  1. She’ll keep cracking down on crime

In 2014, crime rates in Hounslow fell by 16%. Mary knows, however, that there’s more to be done. Last year, she organised a London Domestic Abuse Summit in Chiswick – shortly, she hopes to take this campaign all across the city.

A vote for Mary is a vote for safety for all.

  1. She’ll continue to support small businesses

Between May 2010 and January 2015, unemployment in Mary’s constituency fell by 37%. In the same time, youth unemployment fell by 49%.

”Around 9,400 businesses have started since 2010, one of the highest of any constituency in the country,” Mary says. “I am also particularly keen to promote entrepreneurship locally – particularly for women. Women in this country set up half as many businesses as men and estimates suggest that better use of women’s skills could be worth billions a year to our economy.”

A vote for Mary is a vote for more jobs. It’s a vote for local business.

  1. She’ll work to provide more affordable homes

The inclusion of Hounslow in the Mayor of London’s Housing Zone will lead to the creation of more than 1,000 new homes, including more than 400 affordable ones. Over the last five years, Mary has pushed for affordability in every new development.

A vote for Mary is a vote for (affordable) development.

  1. She’ll continue to improve transport links

Mary has already worked hard to make sure that Piccadilly line trains stop at Turnham Green Station. Unfortunately, the job is not yet finished. Many Chiswick residents need Turnham Green to operate at even greater availability than it currently does, and Mary is working hard to convince TfL about what improvements need to be made.

A vote for Mary is a vote for bringing central London closer to your home.

  1. She’ll work to make Heathrow better – not bigger

”I am not anti-aviation,” Mary says. “I want us to have a world-class aviation industry in the UK. However, this cannot be achieved without consideration of the impact on residents, schools and organisations in the local area.”

Approximately 750,000 people are affected by the noise of aircraft flying into Heathrow. Night flights, especially, is a great nuisance to many.

A vote for Mary is a vote against a third runway. It’s a vote against night flights.

Harrow West: 6 Reasons to Vote for Hannah David

The Big Day is finally here! It’s May 7th, you’re in the polling booth, and you’re holding that stubby old pencil in your hand… Now – where to put your cross?

20% of the population is still undecided – we think that’s far too many. Today, we’d like to help some of you to decide.

Here’s why you should vote for Hannah David.

  1. She’ll back small businesses

”As a small-business owner,” says Hannah, “I know the difficulties of setting up a business and making it grow. That’s why I’m backing the Conservative’s long-term economic plan that has already created 519,000 jobs and 215,000 new businesses in London.”

If you vote for Hannah, she’ll work with local businesses to bring life and greater vibrancy to Harrow shopping areas.

  1. She’ll connect Harrow to Crossrail

”In February, I was joined by Boris Johnson and local people who are backing my campaign to secure a Crossrail extension that will stop at Harrow & Wealdstone Station. I started this campaign because of the investment and job opportunities it would bring to Wealdstone and Harrow as a whole.”

A vote for Hannah is a vote for an MP who brings qualitative change to the lives of hard-working people. With Hannah David, Harrow will become a place of greater opportunity.

  1. She’ll bring new life to Harrow town centre

“In Harrow, our High Streets and main Shopping Areas have been neglected for far too long. Places such as South Harrow, Sudbury Hill, and Harrow Town Centre are in urgent need of new investment and regeneration,” says Hannah.

Hannah wants to make Harrow High Streets cleaner, and she wants to make them places of greater opportunity. More businesses and more jobs will create a better future for the community. But don’t worry! She doesn’t want to change any of the things that make Harrow great.

I want to regenerate Harrow in a way that respects and preserves the very best that Harrow already has to offer, and to build the Harrow that our residents want.”

  1. She’ll crack down on Council waste

”The hard-working taxpayers of Harrow deserve quality services and value for money…Harrow’s Labour Council just doesn’t get it!” Hannah says. “While neighbouring Conservative Hillingdon Council continues to improve services without raising taxes and charges, Harrow’s Labour Council is making cuts to the most important frontline services imposing the maximum Council Tax increase and introducing new charges.”

A vote for Hannah is a vote against a 1.99% Council tax increase and against a £75/year garden tax.

  1. She’ll crack down on crime

”Whilst Harrow has been the safest borough in London since the end of 2014, crime is still a serious concern for many. I’m working with police and local charities to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour in areas such as South Harrow.”

A vote for Hannah is a vote for a zero-tolerance approach towards gangs. It is a vote for a clear line of communication between local people and the police.

  1. She’ll work for a cleaner & greener Harrow

Hannah has set up a new volunteering initiative — Rubbish Friends — to help keep Harrow streets clean.

“I am particularly interested in involving young people in this initiative,” says Hannah. “In time, I hope to build many Rubbish Friends teams across Harrow.  This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to improve their team work and leadership skills, while giving something back to the community.”

A vote for Hannah is vote for a Harrow that cares about the environment.

On May 7th, a vote for Hannah David is a vote for greater opportunities and for greater fairness. It’s a vote against council inefficiencies and arbitrary tax rises. It’s a vote for an ambitious and environmentally aware Harrow.

Leadership and Authenticity Lessons From PM Cameron to Miliband

When it comes to leadership, the quote ‘If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made’, is often attributed to former Labour PM Blair. Good leaders need to be authentic, but what does that mean? Here is a masterclass on authenticity and leadership which Ed Miliband could well take from PM Cameron. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that Ed really needs to sack his media advisors – they’re from another age.

  1. Authenticity is Passion, Mirroring is Important; Being Your True Self

In the UK election, the widespread view has been that once the PM rolled up his sleeves, killed the tie and started speaking with energy and passion, he was all of a sudden much more captivating. Is this fake? No, it is the PM being his true self — unconstrained by suit, tie and the uniform of Westminster. It is only when you let a leader ‘be him/herself’ that you find out if they are fake or the real thing. PM Cameron started winning, hands down, once he’d come out as the ‘real him’, showing that he does care about the people, not just power.

The public are very good at spotting authenticity. It’s probably an evolutionary trait for self-protection. And they are very good at it when they have a face to face comparison they can make, as in the recent TV debates in the UK between the political party leaders. Of course, sometimes we are duped, for a short time (‘tricky Dicky’ managed to dupe the American public for a while, but not when up against Kennedy). Passion is authenticity, it is caring, it is being liked by your audience (who are there because they care). So the rolled up sleeves and no tie helps to show passion and mirrors the audience more closely. 

  1. Not too much passion

When Hillary Clinton during her failed election campaign pretty much started crying because of her love of America, that didn’t work in her favour. Passion from a leader – yes! — but not to the point of weakness. When Miliband was asked by Jeremy Paxman in a TV debate if he ‘was tough enough to be PM’, the Labour leader struggled to bury the idea that he is weak and soft and not up to the job. Phrases such as ‘heck yes, I’m tough enough’ didn’t ring true. In fact, off camera, Paxman could be heard asking: ‘are you alright Ed?’ His attempt at passion came across too much like he was going to cry. Sitting back, calm and in control, can be the way to go when passion might suggest weakness. Miliband got it wrong. He wasn’t being authentic, he was trying to be authentic.

Miliband should have learnt from the former Labour leader. When Gordon Brown, who is widely considered a poor communicator, was fighting against Scottish Independence in the referendum vote, many said he ‘saved the Union’. Unleashed from the constraints of office you saw what made him a successful politician – a man who genuinely cared, speaking with care. Just the right amount.

  1. Authenticity is focus

Sitting in a room listening to Bill Clinton speak, I truly felt he was addressing me personally. Speaking to me. Looking at me. Genuinely interested in me. Ever spoken to someone at a party and they start looking over your shoulder? He didn’t do that. Ever been to an event where someone has a point to make, and just talks at the audience. Clinton doesn’t do that. The UK PM in the latest TV debates came across as genuinely addressing the person and their concerns when asked questions by the audience. Some people, as the PM said, were never going to be convinced, but the polls showed he ‘won’ the debate. Miliband spent too much time trying to affect the mannerisms of a father figure, asking for the person’s name and thanking them for the question. It worked 8 years ago, now it doesn’t. He needs to sack his media people. They’re from a time machine.

  1. Not too much focus

When Ed Miliband in the first of the TV debates in answering audience questions started staring into the TV cameras the tweets that followed gave instant feedback that the strategy looked contrived and insincere. He was trying to fake sincerity, too much like Labour PM Blair. Indeed, in a TV satire about the UK elections, his chief campaign manager is portrayed as an American; the point being you have to be genuine, not aping the cultural norms of another culture or ticking off a list. You have to be yourself, what got you where you are to begin with. Once you need to change to get further, you’re in trouble.

  1. What do you do when you’re telling the truth but you’re not believed?

As a former barrister, this was an issue I could expect to face in every case. The answer is two-fold: emotion and reason. The best example of this in the TV debates was when the PM was told ‘Conservatives are not trusted with the NHS’. What does he say? He cannot say, ‘please believe me’.

When the Labour leader was asked ‘Labour cannot be trusted with the economy’ his response was simply ‘you can’. That doesn’t work. What worked for the PM was emotion and reason perfectly combined. He told the specific story (and stories work best) of his disabled child and the NHS treatment he received. You can’t fake that. You feel the reason and the emotion. It’s authentic. Either Labour were underprepared or negligent. But I don’t remember the Labour leader’s answer.

Alpesh Patel is CEO of a UK Asset Management Company investing in Global businesses. He is a Board Member of the UK India Business Council and a former Financial Times columnist and Bloomberg TV presenter on global investing – as well as the author of 18 books on investing.


We’re the New Conservatives, by Alpesh Patel

The Conservative Party is not the party of your parents. Look again, closely. It may well be undergoing the shift that Labour went through that kept Labour in power for 13 years. If you’re confused, don’t be: you’re just a New Conservative.


Old Conservative (Perception, at least) New Conservative Strategy of New Conservatives
Lower taxes on the richest Increases taxes on the richest through targeting anti-avoidance by individuals and multinationals The richest are few in number, probably don’t vote in the UK (companies like Starbucks definitely don’t) and it’s the right thing to do
Raise taxes on the lowest income, because they don’t vote for you Raise the tax allowance on the lowest income Have them aspire, and work and their spending will have GDP benefits which reduces need for public spending
Cut the public sector to avoid crowding out of the private sector as a matter of ideology Austerity to cut debt to stop wasteful public spending on debt interest Avoid waste
Restrict immigration because they take our jobs Quality immigrants very welcome who add to GDP Grow the economy so more tax take
Encourage home ownership and share ownership Same Property ownership makes people less reliant on the State
Help big business Help small business, watch and fine errant big business Jobs are created by small businesses. Big businesses can derail economic growth and job creation and mean more people become reliant on the State
Tradition family roles We need more women in business, politics, public life Women are a huge potential source of economic growth, tax revenues and less reliance on the State and public spending
Society ‘does not exist’ Volunteerism Less reliance on the State and public spending
Strong state, in defence and in crime – ideology driven Hard data shows a stick is not always as effective as a carrot – influenced by Centre for Social Justice Public spending is often wasted if we do not use data to change how we do things, from public diplomacy and international aid, to prisons and crime policy, and get better results than in the old way of doing things.
Environment comes second to growth. Our voters are in green belts. Environment matters because we are patriotic about this green and pleasant land Everyone is more green now. Our voters are still in green belts. Our economy can grow regardless. It’s the right thing to do.
NHS is full of waste The NHS needs more spending as a cherished institution An aging population votes Conservative and needs healthcare provision.


So how is it different? How are they different to Labour?

  1. New Conservatives, like old Conservatives, fundamentally want a smaller role for the State. They remain in favour of trusting individuals with personal choices, and more people aspiring to create jobs and wealth, so there is less reliance on the State. It is unfair for Conservatives that those who work and pay tax should have it taken from them by the State.
  2. Labour believes more in reliance on the State. It may be couched in the language of fairness, too; for them, it is unfair that those who can work and pay tax do not for those who need it, and it is the role of the State to be the conduit.

What about the old ideologies?

What happened to worker rights, power of unions, lower tax, more public spending, the family unit, defence spending? None of these are cleavages in this election. The new issues are:

  1. Is Britain sending the signal it is open for business?
  2. Will lower tax bring in more or less money?
  3. How much borrowing is bad? Should we fix the deficit whilst the going is good or use it to make the going better quicker?


Alpesh Patel is CEO of a UK Asset Management Company investing in Global businesses. He is a Board Member of the UK India Business Council and a former Financial Times columnist and Bloomberg TV presenter on global investing – as well as the author of 18 books on investing.

It came at a price…The Right to Vote


It came at a price…The Right to Vote!
(Published in Asian Voice & Gujarat Samachar, dated: 23 April 2015)

We live in eruptive times. These are the times of no patience that warrant instant results. Close on the heels of the General Election 2015, we see a heightened (even manic) political activism. Whilst a number of you may find the election fervour exciting and are totally switched on about the minute by minute developments in the world of politics and campaigning; for a number of others, it is just a blur.

Last week I read Lord Popat’s article titled “This election is about you” and he highlighted the struggle of immigrants from East Africa in the 1970s. I felt a strange weight upon me, reading the words: “Imagine living for fifty years and never having the right to say who should be in Government.” I also happened to witness the “I am an Immigrant” campaign go up at tube stations. I have been attending hustings and have read through the many manifestos spelt out by various communities. While it is heartening to see so much activism and awareness on ‘our rights’ and ‘our demands’, it saddens me to then hear from members of public: “I don’t believe in politics” or “There is no point in voting because everyone is just the same”.

IMG_9834As a resident, tax payer and a responsible member of the British Indian society, I feel it is my personal and moral responsibility to vote. Not because I am always in the minority, seeking representation. Or because I am an immigrant and I wish to prove my contribution. As a woman, a mother and a community worker, I take it upon myself as a special duty to ensure there is adequate discussion on the importance of the Right of Vote.

I would like to reach out to fellow ladies reading this article, all of you need to realise that today the vote that we so callously dismiss has cost many of our predecessors their lives. Some of you will recall that it was not until the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 that women won the same voting rights as men. It was, until that time, a privilege left to very few members of the male fraternity to be able to vote and to voice opinion.

While we may want magic solutions to economic crisis, increasing population, environmental degradation and employment figures, as a mother I would like to remind you that it takes 9 months for us to nurture and give birth to a life and many years followed on from there to shape them into responsible adults. What we sow today, we will reap tomorrow. However, if we choose NOT to sow, we shall not be in a position to reap at all!


Let’s keep it simple and sow today. The Right of Vote gives us not just the power but places upon us the responsibility to be good citizens. Let us not be part of the statistic that says we DID NOT shoulder our responsibility in the democratic process. Today men and women both share the responsibility to uphold this democratic process and ensure the vote isn’t wasted.

I read this graffiti somewhere and it has stuck with me: “It’s a man’s world….unless women vote”.

lakshmi kaulLakshmi Kaul
Community Activist & Chair of Public Relations – Hindu Forum of Britain
Twitter: @KaulLakshmi