On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a Vaisakhi reception at Downing Street. This event is an opportunity for the PM to address a group of around 70 – 100 Sikhs amongst other guests but it also gives an opportunity for the individuals in the room to network.
Politicians are voted into Parliament to influence policy. So two things we can do to influence policy in favour of issues that are close to our hearts – firstly we can put up our own candidates to fight parliamentary elections (either independently or from within political parties) or secondly work with the politicians already in these positions and have them fight our cause. In an ideal world, we would be doing both.
Boycotting such an event would not have sent a clear message that we are not happy. This current Government has at least commissioned a report into the British involvement of Operation BlueStar – this is not enough, in my opinion, but it is a start. We now need to continue this open dialogue with ALL political parties and ensure some kind on international inquiry can be set up.
A few individuals think I ‘sold out’ the Sikh nation by attending this event but I disagree with this point. Being a keen Conservative activist, I feel that I am able to speak with MPs and those who can make a difference by being active within the political scene. It also shows MPs and the hierarchy of a political party that you plan to work with them rather than against them on this issue.
But this is just my opinion. I believe that communication is key. Communication breaks down barriers, it opens doors, allows collaboration and of course gets results.