Watching the news announcement that
As Cameron walked down the podium to make his speech, right behind him was Kulveer Ranger PPC, smiling wildly and holding up a banner. During the speech itself stood a shaven headed Rishi Saha PPC on the left hand side, nodding loyally in agreement to the words of his new leader.
Both are bright and ambitious guys who I have talked to before, and have little doubt they will go far. But was their presence a token or is Cameron serious about making the Conservative party more inclusive?
We will change the way we look. Nine out of ten Conservative MPs are white men. We need to change the scandalous under-representation of women in the Conservative party and we will do that.
We need to change the way we feel. No more grumbling about modern Britain. I live in a world as it is not how it was. Our best days lie ahead. We need to change the way we think.
In that victory speech, he did not mention race, leading the website Blink to say he will take the Tories “backwards on race“.
This is a charge worth examining, but one I disagree with.
The Conservative party hammered the race and immigration agenda at the last election and it did not get them anywhere. It is my feeling that he mentioned the racial mix of the party without spelling out a need for more brown/black MPs because it still remains a sensitive topic within the party.
Of course there will come a time when DC will need to be bolder and actually push that agenda.
The real question is – how sincere is he about that agenda? After all, if he did not believe in a more compassionate Conservative party, there would be little point in fighting from that front. He could have tried to outflank Davis from the right.
But no, he is a moderniser, and he keeps asking the party to change. That may mean the likes of Shailesh Vara, Rishi Saha and Kulveer Ranger end up being leading a resurgence of Asian support for the Tories. I say Asian because we are traditionally much more conservative than other minorities.
But one very important fact still stands.
The Conservative and Labour party will now be fighting for the political centre ground on an agenda of better environmental policy, alleviating global poverty (despite forgetfulness), more opportunity for everyone etc etc.
That is a huge improvement from the last election when Labour was shifting to the right to stop bleeding supporters. It helps of course that Ukip collapsed on itself, Veritas was exposed as a farce and the BNP got nowhere.
Nevertheless, fighting for the centre ground means both parties will have to appeal to everyone – including us brown skinned British folk. That can’t be too bad now, can it?
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Filed in: Party politics,Race politics