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  • Will the Tories now become ‘ethnic’ friendly?

    by Sunny
    7th December, 2005 at 5:10 am    

    Watching the news announcement that David Cameron had become the leader of the Conservatives, I was struck by two things.

    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?

                  Post to

    Filed in: Party politics,Race politics

    58 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. SajiniW — on 7th December, 2005 at 9:34 am  

      It’s not unheard of for an Asian to vote Tory - especially in the areas the Tories targeted with ‘Operation Black Vote’ down South.

      With the increasing affluence of Asians, and the increasing numbers choosing to make Britain a permanent home - immigration is going to be lower down on the agenda, and it is up to the Tories to capitalise on this.

    2. Fe'reeha — on 7th December, 2005 at 10:31 am  

      Interesting feature! But I think the divide between Labour and Tory was not purely of being pro or anti immigration.
      The immigration laws which have been the centre of debate in the last election are the same since the Tory era.
      Besides, giving representation to existing immigrants and barring new ones are two completely different agendas.
      But by this, by no means think that I am supporting the Tories’s policy on immigration. Only that I did realise where Micheal Howard was coming from on the issue of immigration. And let’s not forget that despite Labour’s outward “immigration friendly” policies, Blair’s government has done everything possible to make life difficult for immigrants. In particular, Home Office policies during Blair’s right winged man David Blunkett, always echoed of the Tory era.

      Now coming back to the difference between Tory and Labour, a large number of rich Asian businessmen have always been loyal Tories. Labour always got it’s votes from the middle or “the working class”, shunning the image of rich and well bred politicians and opting to the role of “people next door”. If you look closely at Cameron’s speeches, he is following the same lines. He talks of his pregnant wife, his struggle with disability of their first born and traffic problems.
      Despite being the typical Tory elite, he likes to pretend he is something different. He realises a part from serious misjudgements and the sham of the war policies, Tony Blair never failed to effectively use his charisma of his youthful looks and the image of doting and caring husband. Cameron was clever enough to pick up on this one.

    3. Dynesh — on 7th December, 2005 at 10:39 am  

      Yes…I have noticed that many people tend to assume that all Asians vote Labour…maybe I am mistaken here, but I think the Tories are more the party of the affluent man rather than the party of the white man. Would be unreasonable to assume that richer immigrants might actually vote tory? And besides, leaving aside the entire immigration debate, the fact is, asians and blacks born in Britain are under no obligation to vote labour or Lib Dem are they?

    4. SajiniW — on 7th December, 2005 at 10:39 am  

      I actually have a crush on George Osborne. Am I a bad, bad woman?

    5. Vikrant — on 7th December, 2005 at 11:02 am  

      In particular, Home Office policies during Blair’s right winged man David Blunkett, always echoed of the Tory era.

      You are bang on Fareeha. Infact most of the existing immigration policies have been there since the Maggie Thatcher era.

    6. Jai Singh — on 7th December, 2005 at 11:05 am  

      =>”Am I a bad, bad woman?”

      Be careful of making such statements here on PP otherwise you’ll get Sunny all excited ;)

    7. Jai Singh — on 7th December, 2005 at 11:06 am  

      In the Biblical sense, I mean…..

    8. Jay Singh — on 7th December, 2005 at 12:03 pm  

      FAO pickledpolitics admin:

      Looks like another storm in a teacup is brewing in Derby:


      A row has broken out after a teenager was banned from wearing a crucifix at a school where Sikhs can carry ceremonial daggers.Sam Morris, 16, was reportedly sent home from Sinfin Community School, Derby, after she refused to remove a gold cross on a necklace.

      She was told wearing a crucifix was not compulsory for Christians, so the necklace breached dress codes.

      Other pupils are allowed to wear kirpan daggers and metal bracelets, as they are classed as religious symbols, said the Daily

      GCSE student Sam missed two days of study before her mother Debra Saunders, 37, allowed her to return to school without the necklace.

      Christian and Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe insisted a crucifix was not costume jewellery.

      She said: “To persecute a young girl like this for her religious beliefs, whatever they are, is unacceptable.”

      Sam, who had worn the necklace for the past three years, told Sky News the cross was not a “fashion accessory” and she felt “naked without it”.

      Sinfin’s deputy head Howard Jones said: “Most of our pupils understand allowing Sikhs to wear a bracelet is a compulsory part of their religion.


      This is OUTRAGEOUS

      It is another example of liberal stupidity and the lack of common sense of some people who are always, I have to say, white liberals, who dont realise that incidents like this always bring opprobium on minorities who do nothing wrong and have no objection to a girl wearing a crucifix. It lets all the racists have a field day, and on pickledpolitics it gives interactors like JOnZ an opportunity to squirt about how the end is nigh and we are being oppressed by the darkies.

      I really think that some white liberals in institutions often do more harm than good with their silliness.

      And the media has another opportunity to go on a ‘Its Political Correctness Gone Mad’ spree.

      Why are some of these white liberals so stupid?

    9. Jay Singh — on 7th December, 2005 at 12:07 pm  

      Watch this story take off like wildfire through the media now - always on the lookout for fresh evidence of how ‘Asians’ have priveliges denied to the majority, hypocrisy, double standards etc etc

    10. SajiniW — on 7th December, 2005 at 12:14 pm  

      The headmaster of that school is a politically correct nutter. The metro featured a letter from a Sikh, stating that Sam should be allowed to be more active about her spirituality.

    11. Sunny — on 7th December, 2005 at 12:39 pm  

      Guys, let’s not go off topic. I totally take the diff between being anti-immigration and engaging with second/third generation minorities here. But I will come back to that and explain why I thought it was still silly, yet important for us.

      Labour has also had appaling immigration strategies - totally agreed, so in that sense they are no better. But at least they have some brains with regards to the subject. Both Duncan Smith and Hague were talking about this silly plan of establishing “centres” in other countries where potential asylum seekers would have to go before being approved.

    12. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 1:08 pm  

      I’m pretty brainless when it comes to a lot of politics (no I shan’t be answering any questions as to why I’m writing on here!) but I’m rather pleased about Cameron getting in, even though the Tooting Boy lost.

      All my middle class (admittedly all white) friends tell me that the career I’m going into, I must vote Tory. Which is why I agree with Dynesh - it’s about wealth. So during the last election I asked a bunch of Asian friends who they are voting/voted for and it produced an interesting split.

      Most Muslims voted YELLOW, most Hindus voted BLUE and barely anyone I asked voted RED. My friends represent a completely WARPED element in society, but I think it’s very fair to say that one cannot at all generalise about Asians voting for anyone in particular in the UK. Hell, I’ve heard more Asians I know have wildly anti-immigration opinions than white people.

    13. Peter — on 7th December, 2005 at 1:34 pm  

      I agree with Rohin that many asian voters vote Lib Dem.

      Expecially true of Muslim voters last time, but also the case for many Hindu voters.

      The view that “if you are non-white, you vote Labour” is pretty old-fashioned.

    14. Fe'reeha — on 7th December, 2005 at 1:48 pm  

      Hell, I’ve heard more Asians I know have wildly anti-immigration opinions than white people.

      You know! I actually agree with this! I have found more intolerance among Brtish Asians of new immigrants from their countr of origin than anyone else.

      While at Eastern Eye, we did a story on overseas telephone operators for companies like BT and Western Union and they told me the same thing. There can be a lot of racism of accent, understanding culture and in particular being an outsider from British Asians.
      One caller told me ~Brtish Asians were actually quick to detect exactly where in India they were calling from, and hurl an insult.
      I do wonder, why is it so? Could it be something to do with the psychological frustration of dealing with very Indian or Pakistani parents?

    15. j0nz — on 7th December, 2005 at 2:22 pm  

      Amazing. So all the BME I have spoke to that are against uncontrolled immigration are actually racist! Damn, well you learn something everyday!

      I have spoken countless BME & migrants in London, you know what, nearly all complain that there are too many migrants!

      Exactly who is pro-uncontrolled-immigration? More to do with political slants than race IMO! Answer= lefties/liberals.

      Perhaps the only reason they are pro-uncontrolled immigration is so that they can call more people ‘racist’ (which is of course they favourite word).

    16. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 2:28 pm  

      It’s a fascinating subject Fe’reeha. More so cos I just can’t decide where I stand. I’m a first generation immigrant. But then again I was pretty young. So I’m in-between. My Mum’s Indian and my dad’s English, so I’m in-between.

      I was talking with friends; IS it racist to impose limits on immigration? Immigration is as much about white East Europeans as it is about those goddamn darkies. Half the problem is that asylum and immigration have got all muddled up. And somewhere along the lines ‘asylum seeker’ has become a dirty word(s), uttered with comtempt.

      I will never oppose the right of someone to seek a better life in any country, whether for economic or romantic reasons (my Mum!) or to escape persecution. Just play by the rules. And therein lies the grey area. What ARE the rules? This citizenship test will ultimately do nothing, but it’s all good fun (well maybe not).

      In response to theories about Asians being more anti-immigration, I have one idea. I find it’s mostly the upwardly mobile, affluent Asians I’ve spoken to who think like this (God I know loads). I think it’s because they are happy with their lot and don’t want anyone coming here to threaten their ‘market share’ or their nice little set-up.

      Who knows? It’s a massive post in itself.

    17. BevanKieran — on 7th December, 2005 at 2:52 pm  

      I would construe a tory leader not mentioning race (or immigration) as a good thing. Playing the race card didn’t work for Hague or Howard so I hope Cameron learns that lesson. Even within the Conservative Party, there was little post 7/7 blacklash e.g not opting for the hawkish Davis or Liam “stick a Union Jack outside every high school” Fox.

    18. Fe'reeha — on 7th December, 2005 at 3:16 pm  

      I agree with you Rohin. One more reason why British Asians “could” be more careful with new immigrants is probably because they can tell how the system is abused? As opposed to them, the White are usually ignorant of exactly what goes on in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

      For instance, I have come across a number of people who I know have received their passports telling lies right, left and centre. One of the women actually made a headline story in mainstream, I spoke to her White supporters who were energetically talking against her deportation orders, while two minutes of conversation with the said woman, and I nkew she was fibbing. Why? Because she was even giving the names of the province and cities wrong.
      But as you say, it’s a topic in itself.

    19. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 3:55 pm  

      I like how you capitalise the W of White Fe’reeha :)

      It’s an ideal time for the Tories to win support. The Lib Dems took the lion’s share of those who have lost faith in Labour, so if the Conservative Party can truly rejuvenate, I’m sure they’ll win votes.

    20. SajiniW — on 7th December, 2005 at 4:33 pm  

      Call centre workers shouldn’t have to have fake names and fake accents - I’d happily pick up a call from Devi as opposed to Danielle. I only hurl abuse at them because they’re so slow!

    21. FOB — on 7th December, 2005 at 4:49 pm  

      The UK needs skilled immigrants more than skilled migrants need the UK. The UK is sitting on a demographic time bomb and without more skilled labor coming in, companies would chose to outsource more.
      The whole debate needs to be shifted away from controlling immigrants to attracting talented migrants.
      Most of the top Indian talent goes to the USA or Canada.The UK is very low on the radar and is not viewed as a desirable location at all. Only the people who cannot get into the US /Canada /Australia /Germany think of UK.

    22. Vikrant — on 7th December, 2005 at 4:57 pm  

      Gee our politics is soo dry. Nothings right with left, and nothings left of right.

    23. Col. Mustafa — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:00 pm  

      Im going to Aussieland like the rest of the country.
      Then i will live in a weird sort of place, kinda like the one in Heartbreak high,(i think it was called Heartbreak high, or was it something else) find a fit chinese girl and make boats for a living.

      My boats will resemble the boats of the once forgotten Phonoecians, then i will sell them to Lebanon and become rich and loved for brining back a part of their history, maybe even unite the christians and muslims.
      But then comes the plan of world domination, so i won’t give that away.




    24. Vikrant — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:02 pm  

      I only hurl abuse at them because they’re so slow!

      Oh yea… you have to spell out everything for them. It gets a bit annoying when u r asked to spell your very-Indian name on a premium rate-line! The maaderchuds

    25. sonia — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:03 pm  

      the confusion around the debate stems from the fact thate everyone generally refers to the term immigration in a very confused way.

      there’s no reason why the Tories should be more anti-asian than anyone else, and vice versa, there’s no reason why Labour or any one else should be more asian-friendly.

    26. Al-Hack — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:04 pm  

      Mustafa you a funny man.

      Labour has been responsible for some of the more progressive racial politics in this country, and did not lead the charge against blacks and asians in the 60s and 70s - which is why traditionally we’ve been Labour supporters.

      Enoch Powell, and that guy who used the line - “If you want a nigger for a neighbour vote Labour” come from this party.

      If the party sheds its racist image then it will attract right-wing people of every colour. Specially the rich f*ckers. But they can’t take us for granted like Labour is doing now. We need better access to those corridors of power otherwise it becomes a tokenisitic exercise. Take the brown man’s vote and let him smell some power in return - that is what we don’t need.

    27. Gaz — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:05 pm  

      Most of the hindu’s i know vote Tory. They are almost all against further large scale immigration as well. The average level of debate on immigration even on here is extremely poor. FOB is correct that the UK doesnt appeal to the cream of gradues from South Asia. The cost of living hear is too high and the opportunites too limited compared to the US.

    28. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:05 pm  

      And where did you hear that joke Vikrant? Just waiting for a chance to drop it in somewhere?

      Good point FOB, although I wouldn’t accept that Britain is only considered by those who “cannot get into the US /Canada /Australia /Germany”. Germany attracts far less Indian immigrants and I reckon Australia does too, but I don’t have figures for that. Canada certainly push their immigration drives all over the world.

      I was going to post up a thread a while ago about how the Royal Colleges have made it much harder for overseas doctors to come here, when it’s quite clear we need doctors. There’s been such a cock-up with jobs here recently that loads of British doctors have left for Australia (and NZ, Canada etc) and I see ads for docs to work in those countries everywhere.

      Very little is known about what happens to many of the immigrants once they enter the UK. EC immigrants are not required to register and as a result there are officially only 95 Polish plumbers in London. The rest are unaccounted for - although I know there are more than 95 Polish plumbers in my neighbourhood alone!

    29. sonia — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:19 pm  

      well actually you lot are wrong about what you’re saying on immigration policy. And i daresay who ever is a citizen - what constitutes immigration policy -doesn’t affect them obviously. ( perhaps through family members and some identification with immigrants having come from immigrant families. Fe’reeha is right about the existing representation question and the other one which is about letting new people in>)
      The fact is the core of immigration rules hasn’t changed - i.e. things like who gets citizenship after how long and blah blah, but despite the nasty things i will say about Mr. Blair, after the 1997 election quite a few things changed with the immigration policy that made life easier for those e.g. students - to work part-time, and people on various visas. So stuff like work permits -became easier for skilled professionals to get work permits as it became easier for companies to get work permits for employees, and other stuff like a few changes to the Commonwealth working holiday visas etc. Basically they were interested in letting the ‘young’ and educated folks come and work here.

      just thought id throw that into the mix.

      The other thing a lot of people didn’t know - and this is tied to how immigration gets muddied in the press - esp. silly folks like the daily mail - there’s a big difference obviously between asylum seekers and people on visas. If you’re on a visa, entry to and staying in the country is dependent on you not taking recourse to public funds - so basically whilst you pay taxes into the pot, you can’t get any benefits (fine) and so there’s more money in the pot than takers out. So when you tell people this they’re like okay..and then say well we’re not worried about you lot anyway. We’re worried about these funny people who arrive on boats and go on benefits and expect to stay for the rest of their life here without integrating..’

      god - talk about so many things rolled into one…

    30. gaz — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:32 pm  

      I work in an international IT company and believe me the UK gets nowhere near the best south Asian or Chinese graduates. UK companies pay and conditions are not as good as US companies. In addition the cost of living is perceived to be cheaper in the States. A few Indian graduates have told me outright they feel that they will have better job promotion prospects in the US over the UK. In Silicon Valley it is not unusual to find recent Indian IT gradates in management positions or even running companies. If anyone wants to see how immigration can massively benefit a country just look at the wealth created by Indian and Chinese immigration into US IT/Technology fields.

    31. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:39 pm  

      Sonia who are you referring to when you say “you lot are wrong”?

      “a few things changed with the immigration policy that made life easier for those e.g. students”

      Hmm..not so. Labour changed policy so that far more students would have to pay overseas fees for university. Previously, if you had a British passport, you were considered a British citizen and paid the same tuition fees as anyone else. From 97, you or your dad had to have paid tax in the UK for the last three years or something, so people who had spent time at school abroad were all classed as overseas immigrants and had to pay £9500-17000 as opposed to £1050. They were also not entitled to student loans.

      I agree, America is the first choice for most immigrants seeking a life in ‘the first world’ these days. Although I’d prefer to see less people leaving India in general. The mentality hasn’t changed - the dream of life in the West persists, despite many not enjoying it once they’ve emigrated and despite life in parts of India being just as comfy. However, an increasing amount of people are working in the West for several years and then returning to India with hard-earned cash in their pocket. I think that’s a good way of doing things.

    32. sonia — on 7th December, 2005 at 5:59 pm  

      that said, post 9-11 things have gone downhill somewhat.

      in general govts. seem to have felt the need to ‘tighten up’ ‘immigration controls’ as the scare-mongers make nation states feel in threat and the need to ‘secure borders’. us vs. them, my house vs. your house that sort of thing. #

      Immigration also isn’t necessarily something that as people have pointed out - all ‘asians’ have the same view on- lots of asians who are born here think the same thing as other Brits - ‘why should we let some foreigners in… i was born here so i have a right - you guys dont have a right to stay here.’

      and its not very different in most countries of the world - ain’t like things are so weird here - most people in the world are unfortunately very insular - after all that’s the idea behind ‘foreign’, and separate nation-states.

    33. sonia — on 7th December, 2005 at 6:09 pm  

      rohin - well im not saying everything they did was good. Obvously. i meant that somethings certainly did change for the better. ( that doesn’t preclude the fact that somethings change for the worse!) and i always had to pay overseas fees so that didnt make anything different for me. obviously different people are affected differently!

      what you say about about the tax thing - well i dont know about tax - but it sure wasn’t automatic you got home student status if you had a british passport. plenty of people back in the 80′s had to go and live in blighty for 3 years before you could get home status for fees purposes. im sure labour may have made some things more difficult - and in the end with tuition fees i dont know the whole story.

      i was referring to fe’reeha’s comment -
      “The immigration laws which have been the centre of debate in the last election are the same since the Tory era” which Vikrant backed up.

      anyway - minor point really.

    34. sonia — on 7th December, 2005 at 6:17 pm  

      sorry i meant that i didnt know about further changes to tax laws and stuff - just that there was always some clause involved to stop all British passport holders from getting the fee thing on home status rather than overseas status..and it was to do with residency for 3 years - in the past- and ive no idea what additional clauses they shoved in. after all - they’ve been very money minded - which is why they let us types come and work here as they know full well they’ll get more money as a result.

      does anyone know how much it is now to get home office to consider a variation of leave? £335 - its gone up astronomically recently. a very good money making exercise.

    35. FOB — on 7th December, 2005 at 6:49 pm  

      India is booming, but there still is a skilled labor surplus in in most fields, especially IT and medicine.Add to that the fact that both these skill sets are in short supply in the US and you have a scenario where the wage disparity between the US and India (in absolute terms) is stil very high.

      There are also a few other factors at play including large scale reservation/affirmative action programs in education that have resulted in middle class flight from India as it is easier to get a good education in the US/UK than in India! It is just too hard to get into a top program as only around 50% of the seats are decided on general merit, the rest being allotted to various caste/tribes as a form of “affirmative action”.

      Regarding the UK , the common perception (I don’t know how true it is) is that the only livable places in England are in the South East.The rest of the country is perceived similar to the American deep south : Racist, riven by economic devastation and depressing in general.

    36. Vikrant — on 7th December, 2005 at 6:53 pm  

      And where did you hear that joke Vikrant? Just waiting for a chance to drop it in somewhere?

      sort of..

      I’m afraid i cant contibute anything to this dicussion as i dont care with immigration and stuff here since i’ll be heading of to States pretty soon.

    37. Vladimir — on 7th December, 2005 at 7:39 pm  

      I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again scum scum tory fuck’in scum.

      May I warn everyone regardless of your ethnic origin not to vote fot the scum that are the Tory political party.

      The Tory party may pretend to care about the not so privileged, but when it has taken them around a decade for them to realise this is a nice way to gain votes, how long do you think it is going to take them to realise that these people actually matter?

    38. Fe'reeha — on 7th December, 2005 at 7:53 pm  

      ha ha! Interesting comment Vladimir!

    39. BevanKieran — on 7th December, 2005 at 8:03 pm  


      You are right. I was momentarily sent into stupor by Cameron’s charm. This is the party of Ann Winterton, John Townend, the Monday Club, Slavery, Empire,
      Enoch Powell, means-testing, screwing up the NHS, isolationalist foreign policy (Major and Chamberlain), stealing my milk when I was at primary school and Jim Davidson.

    40. j0nz — on 7th December, 2005 at 8:55 pm  

      Nice nuanced prose there Vladimir.

      Cameron is going to change the Tory party; get it into the centre ground, much like Blair did with lefty old Labour and becoming mainstream with New Labour.

      For once I see we might have a Conservative future prime minister in our midst.

      Get a grip. BevanKieran and Vladmir. So Cameron stands for “Slavery”? OMG. Moonbat alert!

      And he’s got nothing to do with the twat Jim Davidson.

    41. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 8:59 pm  

      J0nz, I really hope he does change the Tory party. I’m quite sadly rather excited about this. Britain would benefit most from having a strong opposition (not Charles fucking Kennedy), whoever is in power.

    42. Sunny — on 7th December, 2005 at 10:30 pm  

      How dare you insult Charles Kennedy you heathen. I voted Lib Dem in the last election :(

    43. Rohin — on 7th December, 2005 at 11:51 pm  

      Hey, he’s a nice fella. But he’s not decent opposition.

    44. SajiniW — on 8th December, 2005 at 9:02 am  

      Rohin’s right. Being a ginger in parliament is UNLUCKY. Ask Neil Kinnock.

    45. El Cid — on 8th December, 2005 at 11:03 am  

      Regarding the UK , the common perception (I don’t know how true it is) is that the only livable places in England are in the South East.The rest of the country is perceived similar to the American deep south : Racist, riven by economic devastation and depressing in general.

      FOB, I can’t believe no-one has deemed it necessary to correct you here. I may be prone to the odd “you Northern monkey” or worse, but I feel it my duty to big’up my friends in the north. Sure there is segregation in places like Blackburn, Burnley and so forth and I read recently a rather depressing article about Dewkesbury. But that is as much the fault of the local Asian population as it is the local white population. The fact of the matter is that the great cities of the north such as Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle can be very welcoming places. In fact, you are an infinite times more like to get a friendly “hello” up north than you will doon south. It’s shame about Asian/black tensions in Birmingham because, traditionally, that too has been a great multicultural centre.
      The other thing is that if you are comparing the North to London then it is an unfair comparison. London, quite simply, is the greatest city in the world. New York, Los Angeles, Toronto don’t even begin to compare in terms of diversity and all-round buzz. (You’re going to miss us when you’re gone Vikrant — just wait until you see US chav in all its racial manifestations!!)

    46. El Cid — on 8th December, 2005 at 11:10 am  

      As for Cameron, I’m afraid j0nz is right. He has all the makings of a future prime minister. I think New Labour is fucked, which is a shame because I think they have done tremendous work. Foreign policy aside, they have made a real difference in health and education. Some of you chaps and chapettes might not appreciate this if you grew up in public school bubbles, but state schools are definitely improving.
      But the fact of the matter is that Cameron is a suave and persuasive and, for a Tory, progressive operator. Tony Blair meanwhile is set to hand Gordon Brown a poisoned chalice because the economy is slowing and a huge deficit is opening up in the public finances as tax receipts shrink just as spending increases, which will mean either spending cutbacks or a slowdown. The other problem Brown has is that he is not exactly a breath of fresh air.

    47. El Cid — on 8th December, 2005 at 11:12 am  

      Jay, we spoke about that cross/sikh thing earlier. Don came up with a new term for it — nativity play sundrome.

    48. SajiniW — on 8th December, 2005 at 11:28 am  

      El Cid - I agree the common perception is that people of colour here will be uncomfortable outside the SE. I, for one, haven’t heard many comforting stories about life outside cities.

      I lay half the blame at bigotry and the other half at ghettoisation, which leads to suspicion and hatred.

    49. Vladimir — on 8th December, 2005 at 11:37 am  

      El Cid YOU SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN STOKE!!! I am not a very happy chap at the moment :(

    50. sonia — on 8th December, 2005 at 12:30 pm  

      gaz - that may well be the case. Lots of money to be had - as long as you’re willing to pretty much sell your soul. labour laws for non-citizens are generally crap in the States - labour law is crap full stop for citizens anyway - and depending on which state you live in - why you can be screwed over very nicely. the fact that a lot of people want to apply for the green card and your employer has a nice hold over you means lots of employers ( im not saying all b4 someone jumps up and down) are able to over-work you big style.

    51. sonia — on 8th December, 2005 at 12:31 pm  

      El Cid yeah - labour have made a difference to many things, however as a recent article in the Guardian pointed out - that’s not going to be ‘remembered’ due to the Iraq debacle.

    52. Rohin — on 8th December, 2005 at 1:32 pm  

      What’s with all this Labour-loving?

      “Foreign policy aside, they have made a real difference in health and education.”

      I do accept, I did go to public school as you mention and besides I left school a few years after New Labour got in, so I don’t know a great deal. All I do know is that one of the first things they did was remove the assisted place scheme. Without that, I would’ve not been able to attend my school. In retrospect, school made me everything I am today. Some people can be very successful from state schools, but I doubt I would have been. Now my school tries to fund some poor bright students itself, but only one or two. It’s a terrible shame as public schools like mine have now become the bubbles you talk of - all posh toffs and no kids like me to bring them down to earth.

      They also just re-introduced Tory policy that they had removed 8 years ago.

      And health! Well that’s my area. Yes there have been some benefits, I shan’t be churlish. But the government constantly imposes the most asinine regulations on the NHS which are always completely untenable and fail within months. Health in the UK is still fucked. But I severely doubt the Tories would make anything better on this count.

    53. Sunny — on 8th December, 2005 at 1:57 pm  

      NO I doubt the Tories will be any better, but I’m hoping they will make Labour work harder, who have been a bit arrogant and lazy of late.

    54. El Cid — on 9th December, 2005 at 10:01 am  

      Can’t fault you for that last comment Sunny.

    55. El Cid — on 9th December, 2005 at 10:10 am  

      Vlad, in which way did I omit to mention Stoke — in a good way or bad?

    56. Vladimir — on 9th December, 2005 at 11:25 am  

      Good ways of course.

    57. Nush — on 9th December, 2005 at 2:24 pm  

      its funny cos I met a Labour MP last week, sunny arrogant wasnt the word!

      Anyway, I think it was a mistake that Cameron didnt mention the lack of Brown in the Tory Party.

      But I am sure that due to this debate and many others that will change

      I mean his Shadow Cabinet reshuffle has already caused a stir, there are more women representing! YAY!

    58. Neil Harding — on 11th December, 2005 at 10:18 pm  

      NUSH: “Anyway, I think it was a mistake that Cameron didn’t mention the lack of Brown in the Tory Party.”

      I think Cameron does lack Brown in his shadow cabinet, Gordon Brown to be precise. Sorry! Couldn’t resist that.

      Don’t be fooled by the image, look at the policies.

      Remember George Bush was a ‘compassionate conservative’, who surrounded himself with ethnic minorities and the young at photo shoots.

      There are plenty of policies we do already know about Cameron.

      He voted for the Iraq war, justifying it on the grounds that we need to maintain ‘strong ties with the US and George Bush’.

      He wrote the last Tory manifesto, including all the nasty immigration stuff about quotas and ‘fantasy islands’ for asylum applications. The manifesto also included the education and health vouchers for the well off.

      He supports Tuition Fees, Foundation Hospitals and Private Finance Initiatives.

      He was speech writer and policy advisor to Norman Lamont in the run-up to Black Wednesday which lost the taxpayer billions of pounds in a single day.

      He supports a massive road building programme while claiming to be an environmentalist. I notice he is driven to Westminster 99% of the time. What a fraud his cycling photo shoot is.

      Talk of spin, this guy is ‘Turbo Blairism’.

      He is passionately in favour of killing foxes with hounds and other blood sports, not surprising considering his background. (Not as if it’s his fault being born a toff, but why do they always interbreed? (He married a Baronet’s daughter).

      He wants to pull out of the Centre-Right, European Peoples’s Party and join with the minor extreme right-wing fascist parties and those that want to leave the EU altogether. This is more rightwing and Euro-sceptic than IDS and David Davis put together. This is not a practical policy and the only woman Tory MEP is threatening resignation and calling Cameron ‘out of touch with reality’.

      He is looking at introducing a flat tax, which will be a more regressive taxation policy than even Thatcher dared consider. Even the Tory who originally proposed it, now says it is politically suicidal and would lead to massive public spending cuts, as the burden of taxation would be moved away from the rich.

      He talks of tax incentives for traditional marriage rather than for families with children. Sounds like the old Tory prejudice against single mothers dies hard.

      And finally, he is a walking corruption scandal, he has registered 25 ‘personal donations’ already this year from individuals and companies like Lord Harris (evangelist carpet millionaire) and Lord Sainsbury.

      None of this sounds ‘modern’ or ‘compassionate’ to me.

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