11 Dec The Liberal Democrats are the only party that truly reflect British Indian values
Many of the 1.4 million British Indians voting in the UK have been left feeling alienated in this election. The Indian diaspora are a diverse group of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. They typically want a party that is socially liberal and fiscally (with a small ‘c’) conservative. Historically, they have voted Labour, but have on occasion swung to the right as they did in 2017. This election is different as both the main parties have swung to extremes. Labour’s socialist stance is off-putting to those with a strong work ethic who don’t want the government to bankrupt our country with free everything. Conservatives have shown their true anti-diversity colours by pushing for a hard Brexit and promising to end free movement.
This makes the Liberal Democrats the natural choice to represent the attitudes and values of British Indians.
Labour have written off their chances of winning the votes of the Indian diaspora. Earlier this year, when the Indian government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir the Labour Party voted for an emergency motion for international interference in Kashmir, which rightly caused great offence. More than 100 Indian groups wrote to Jeremy Corbyn, in protest. Why should he get involved in another country’s issues?
They haven’t helped matters by selecting only one Indian origin candidate to a safe Labour seat in this election. It’s clear that he doesn’t prioritise our demographic in his list of voters to woo.
The Conservative party on the other hand have been trying to woo the Hindu Indian diaspora electorate with visits to famous temples in London this weekend. This was a blatant media courting exercise, helped by his girlfriend sporting a flowing sari. Boris also vowed to partner with Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi to build a new India but this is also just words as this is the first time Johnson has made any such pledge to help India.
All Boris Johnson cares about is “getting Brexit done”, which will wreck the British economy and destroy entrepreneurialism by cutting off access to foreign markets. In my role as MEP in the European Parliament, I am chair of the delegation for relations with India. My main focus in that role is to try to double trade between the EU and the UK. Trade deals take at least 6 years to negotiate so it would be far more difficult for the UK to negotiate a fresh trade deal with India. If they stay in the EU we will benefit from a strengthened relationship that is already in the making.
The Liberal Democrats are socially liberal and economically sensible. Since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, reports of racially motivated attacks have risen from 64% in 2016 to 76% in February this year. Brexit is divisive and damaging and a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to heal these divisions and boost our economy.