416.The Man in Blue – Elections in Southall

In case you did not know, I am a member of the Liberal Democrats. I have been actively campaigning since the beginning of this month and if you live in the Norwood Green ward of Southall you can actually vote for me for Ealing Council. But this is not what this article is about.

What I want to discuss with you is the quality of the councillors and the MPs that we have been voting for here in Southall. For years Southall has been represented by Piara Singh Khabra. We should not be nasty about those who have passed away, but even Labour supporters must admit that Piara Singh did not work very hard for Southall.

Now we have Virendra Sharma as an MP, and he follows the example of Piara Singh. Virendra Sharma wants to be re-elected and Gurcharan Singh, ex-Labour and now Conservative, is his main opponent. I know, we all know that there are much better people in the South Asian community in West London. Why are we stuck with these two poor choices ?

Regardless of party, why is there not a South Asian equivalent of for instance John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who works hard for all communities in his constituency. Why is it that we have throughout West London so many mediocre South Asian councillors ?

It is not because there is a lack of talent. I know plenty of South Asian people in all generations who are intelligent, well educated, hard working and successful in their line of business or in a professional career.

Is politics not attractive to the doers, is it because it does not bring in the big bucks ? Why do we mostly get the people who are happy to take the seat and the respect of the community, but who do not want to work hard at representing the voters of their ward or constituency ?

To a degree the same is true for our Gurdwaré. How many inspirational and hard working Sikhs are there on prabandhak committees ?

If you are more or less a floating voter in West London you have no problem, you just vote for the most capable candidate regardless of party. But if you are a committed Conservative or Labour supporter it must be frustrating. All you can do is choose between TweedledumandTweedledee.

It is a little late now, but I very much hope that enthusiastic and honest members of Southall’s diverse communities will come forward the next time round to genuinely represent the people of our wonderful Southall. (Southall is wonderful ! I lived in Roermond, Amsterdam, Dublin, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Heston and Southall, and Southall easily is one of the best places to live in.)

Appeal to stop the use of violence

All Sikhs, Sikh organisations and Gurdwaré should undertake never again to use violence as a means to settle differences of opinion. There is no precedent from Guru’s days for this bad practice, the Guru taught us to stand up against injustice, not against opinions that we do not agree with.