My article for Conservative Home on Brexit and Trump – nothing in common

Last June, I was one of over 17 million people who voted to leave the European Union. I was proud to do so, and believe that Britain now has an opportunity to create a stronger, fairer and more prosperous society.

My grandfather came to the UK from India in 1963 in search of a better life, fairness in education and opportunity regardless of gender, race or status. Britain gave my grandfather the chance to earn a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, build his own business and give back to society.

So I believe I have good reasons to love this country and its values – values like respecting the views of others, even when you disagree with them. About believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and upholding basic human rights; in equality, democracy and the democratic process. And respect for the law, even when you think it’s wrong. And when you do disagree, getting involved to change it. That’s what freedom and democracy is all about.

It doesn’t matter about your race, your religion, your status or even how long you’ve lived here – we all have a role to play in making society a success. That’s something we seem to have forgotten but, as an independent country, it’s going to be even more important that everyone helps change Britain for the better.

Now that we are to leave the EU, I want to see the UK develop an immigration policy which grants people the right to come here based not on where they were born but on their skills, education and what they can contribute to society. While we were in the EU and its Single Market we had no control over immigration. Indeed, the situation was fundamentally unfair – regardless of their skills or intentions, EU citizens were free to come to the UK but citizens from Commonwealth countries and beyond, many with family links to British communities, were prevented from doing so.

Post Brexit Britain should take a global approach to immigration. That means attracting the doctors, teachers, engineers, and business people we need to enable our country to flourish while ending the discrimination based on where an individual was born or what colour their passport is. That way we’d have an immigration system that was in the best interests of this country and consistent with our values.

Watching Donald Trump pass his executive order banning entry from seven majority Muslim countries like Syria and Iraq has left me feeling frustrated. It’s not just that citizens from these countries have never been responsible for acts of terrorism in the US, it’s also that the decision feels un-American and even inhumane. An entry ban on grounds of nationality and religion is certainly un-British, and I was pleased to see that Boris Johnson has called it “divisive and wrong”.

If I had been able to vote in the US Presidential election I would not have voted for Donald Trump. I don’t know anyone who would have! But I did vote Leave in June. And America elected Donald Trump – and opted to become secluded from the world. It was a vote that has started the process of America forgetting its values and its history. In the case of Brexit, the vote was a bid to regain control of our country, a vote for optimism, for trade beyond the EU’s protectionist customs union and for a greater and fairer engagement with the world beyond Europe’s borders. Brexit was a vote for an independent Britain that is fair on immigration, trades globally and is outward-looking – underpinned by great values of equality, fairness and freedom.

 

The Brexit vote was a blow for democracy, for the people against the establishment. But the backlash against it, from lords to lawyers to MPs to CEOs, proved the fight is only just beginning. In this 20-minute film, Paul Embery, Harsimrat Kaur, Tom Slater, Gisela Stuart and Bruno Waterfield relive the Glorious Referendum, reflect on the history of the struggle for suffrage, and discuss how we can make good on the democratic promise of 23 June. Watch and share!
www.spiked-online.com

We are the offspring of our King
Our worldly Father, Guru Gobind Singh
Listen up, take note, this is our story
Our ultimate sacrifice, our unique glory

We settled in Anandpur, the city of bliss
Learning Gatka, it was our wish
Horse riding, archery and self-defence
Being always prepared, the hours we spent

Zorawar, Fateh, Ajit te Jujhar
Shaheedi unha di kareyo yaad

We were happy and content
Living life as it was meant
This was short lived; it was not to be
What then unfolded, made history
Continue reading

Yesterday I was invited onto BBC’s Asian Network’s Thought for the Week and shared my thoughts on the proposed Oath of Allegiance – see below……

I love this country, I want to see it succeed – not just for me and my family but for my neighbours and fellow Brits. That’s why when Sajid Javid announced earlier this week the Government is considering adding an Oath of Allegiance for public office holders I was over the moon. Having our public officers embrace British values sets an example for everyone else to do so too.

The values I’m talking about are respecting the views of others, even when you disagree with them. About believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and upholding basic human rights. I’m talking about a belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process. And respecting for the law, even when you think it’s wrong. And when you do disagree, getting involved to change it. That’s what freedom and democracy is all about.

And it doesn’t matter about your race, your religion, your status or even how long you’ve lived here – we all have a role to play in making society a success. That’s something we seem to have forgotten.

Personally I think we need to go further than this proposal. I believe all students should learn the national anthem and our British History. We should have the Union Jack flying high outside all public buildings and schools. We need to instill a pride for being British in our next generation so they can instill it in the generation after.

With the opportunities that Brexit allows – such as the ability to introduce a fair and controlled immigration system – where any individual from across the world can come to Britain on the same rules and the same process, this oath of allegiance is more important than ever. We should welcome new talent and fresh ideas to Britain but also teach about our history, our culture, we should encourage those who make Britain their home to integrate with the communities they join and learn about our values.

There is a reason why people from all across the world want to come to this country. Yes we are an economic powerhouse and yes there are plenty of job opportunities. But more fundamentally people want to live in a country underpinned by values they agree with. Britain is underpinned by great values and ultimately it is those values that make this country such a success.

I’ve just seen President Obama’s video where he told off the Clinton rally for boo-ing a Trump supporter (video below). I couldn’t agree more with his actions!

This is what politics should be about – respecting each other’s views but getting out and making your voice heard through the ballot box.

There is little point in spreading hatred and making someone or a group of people feel isolated due to their views. We should be glad people have a difference of opinion so we can debate, discuss and they can hold our views to account.

This is both in the US elections but also here at home after the Brexit vote – why is there so much hatred when everyone had a vote and a chance to make their voice heard. We need to get more involved in politics and influence more. We need to influence politics and politicians to understand our point of view not just shout from the outside and abuse fellow voters. Thats not what democracy is about.

Lets all get involved more! Lets have our voices heard on all topics of debate. But most importantly, let’s all respect a democratic vote, peoples views and the democratic decision.

With the latest discussions on grammer schools – people should take some time to watch this video.

Education comes in many shapes and forms but we forget that these students are our future. One size does not fit all. Classes are getting larger, teachers fewer. Children not given one to one help and yet told to keep up with the rest of their cohort. Students are expecting to fulfil their potential and yet no-one helps them realise their potential first

Continue reading

On Friday, I was invited onto BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions panel in Pickering alongside Tim Farron MP (Lib Dem leader), Baroness Shami Chakrabarti (Labour Peer), Brandon Lewis MP (Conservative Policing Minister).

We discussed a variety of topics including – does Britain need an elected opposition, Brexit, Fracking, anti-semitism, amongst other…..

You can listen here: