Something that got circles around on a lot of e-groups. Interesting for you all interested in politics, like me 🙂
Who knows how many Sikhs there are in the UK, because the government continues to refuse to count them on any firm basis. So, “they are not counted, and, therefore, do not count! ” Sikh identity is hardly understood in the departments, the government agencies and services, the media or in the business community. One serious consequence is that Sikhs continue to suffer from mistaken identity and often are victims of assaults. Sikhs are not monitored and continue to suffer discrimination in all spheres of life. But then where is the evidence? After all, they are not monitored and there is no proof!
Since year 2002, I have been a close observer of the relations between the Labour government and the UK Sikhs. That was the year when the Sikhs attempted to present some sort of united front to the government on Sikh issues. It is another matter that the initiative ran into the sands. Every community has ambitious individuals: the self-appointed “community leaders” and “representatives” trying to outdo each other, but hardly in touch with grassroots issues and concerns. There is nothing new in that.
However, throughout these years the government has mostly ignored the Sikhs. Other than paying lip service to community cohesion, consultation with faith communities as “stakeholders” etc, very little attempt has been made to develop a genuine dialogue with the Sikhs in order to understand the real issues which concern them. Even today there is no coherent policy, which assures the Sikhs their identity and the freedom to practice own religion, albeit, subject to reasonable restrictions negotiated with responsible Sikhs.
After Anglo-Sikh relation going back over two hundred years, and their splendid record in the two World Wars as defenders of the free world, the loyalty of the Sikhs to the UK can never be in any doubt. As hardworking citizens, making a major contribution to the economy, their record is second to no other British community. It is regrettable that the politics of another country is sometimes allowed to influence their treatment in this country.
The Sikhs have always been traditional supporters of the Labour Party. Yet, often it is the Conservative Party, which has honoured the Anglo-Sikh historical bond and supported the Sikhs in preserving their religious identity in the plural British society. British Sikh votes and trust have to be won and cannot be taken for granted by any political party.