During this year’s National Sikh Convention in Wolverhampton it was decided to launch a Sikh Manifesto, just like the political parties are putting together manifestos for the 2015 General Election.
But the Sikh Manifesto is not like the manifestos that political parties publish. Our Sikh Manifesto is not a document that the Sikh Community or UK politicians have to accept in full or reject.
If you are a Sikh or a politician you can decide that you agree with one of the points of the manifesto, and campaign on that. Others might feel happy to join on two, three, four or on all the points raised.
We have been told that some of the points in the draft manifesto are controversial, like campaigning for the right of self-determination. But ‘self-determination’ is a human right. Countries that lock up people because they campaign peacefully for more autonomy or independence of their state, have no right to call themselves democratic.
The people involved in the Sikh Manifesto are ‘Sant Sipahi’ who want to fight for their rights and those of others peacefully and through working with politicians, governments and international bodies.
We have been consulting Sikhs in areas with substantial Sikh populations, asking for suggested changes in the draft manifesto, and whether we should leave out some issues or include new ones.
We also encouraged Sikhs from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to react via the internet (Facebook, email) in order to get opinions from all over the UK.
This Manifesto is written with the 2005 general election in mind, but some ssues can also be raised with members of the assemblies or parliaments of London, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and with members of the House of Lords and the European Parliament.
It looks likely that in 2015, just like five years ago, neither Labour nor the Conservatives will have an overall majority, and both these big parties and smaller ones like the SNP, UKIP, Lib Dems and Greens will compete strongly for every vote.
With the manifesto we can test the commitment of politicians to the Sikh community and we can advise the Sangat to vote for certain parties or for specific MPs, if they have a good track record in looking after the interests of the Sikhs or if they committed to work with Sikhs on points raised in the Sikh Manifesto.
More of us vote than people of other communities, but to make this vote count we should not blindly give our vote to one party or one candidate, but go by their record and by their commitment to the Sikh community.
If you want an ‘electronic’ copy of the Sikh Manifesto, please email me at