For the last few days, I have had a lot of messages asking me “why don’t we have any Sikh MPs” or that “Paul Uppal” was a sell out for the Sikhs. A lot of people have quoted the BBC article “No Sikhs in new Parliament” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32696615
Forgive me but I think we are all looking into this way too narrowly. An MP regardless of background is elected to stand up for the people in his or her constituency. What they then do for people of their own background is a BONUS and not something that is required of them – or, in my opinion, something they should be judged on.
Paul Uppal did some great work for the Sikhs – including having Vaisakhi celebrated at No 10 for the first time, working on the hard hat legislation so that Sikhs could wear Dastars (Turban) on construction sites and worked to ensure there was a proper procedure for searches of the Dastar (Turban) at airports. He was always willing to help and give advice whether that was on campaigning advice, Sikh related issues or other questions I had. I believe that whichever groups briefed against Paul did so without thinking about the bigger picture and were wrong in that regards. Paul has been an ally, a friendly ear and a voice for the Sikhs in Parliament and outside. He did not get every decision correct, but no MP ever will. In politics there are so many moving balls and even if you really want something to happen, it doesn’t mean that it will. But where he could make a difference – he did!
On the other topic – the Sikh Manifesto. Personally I did not hold politicians to the Sikh Manifesto. Without going into too much detail – the Manifesto slogan “we deserve better” put me off the whole document.
As Sikhs how can we deserve better when we are not willing to get involved and stand up for what is right? There are too many people involved in “so called pressure groups” to change something in politics but actually its just personal gain for them.
If we cannot stand up for everyone regardless of religion, colour, gender, etc. then we should walk away from this circle of influence. We cannot and should not think of ME all the time. Sikhs were meant to step up and look after others. For me, that it what the manifesto should have been about. Maharaj will look after the rest, be that justice, recognition, more MPs – He always does.
In terms of the contents of the Sikh Manifesto – I’ll comment on that soon.
Just my opinions and thoughts. We need to stop fighting each other especially online and lets unite with one goal – get more politically aware and ensure next time we have at least a dozen sikhs standing for parliament in each and every party.