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Snack is Britain’s first Asian prime minister, but this diversity success was no accident

The constant political turmoil caused by the 2016 Brexit referendum has caused great turmoil in the UK government.

One of the unintended consequences, however, is that for the first time in British history, non-British ministers have been rapidly promoted to the top four secretaries of state.

Labor MP Diane Abbott was the first black woman elected to the House of Commons in 1967.credit:APs

first was Sajid Javid as Minister of Home Affairs in 2018then in 2020 Sunak took over as Treasury, this year James Cleverley as Foreign Affairs, Kwasi Kwarten as Secretary of the Treasury in Liz Truss’ government, and finally Sunak as Prime Minister this week.

However, this was not inevitable.

Former Conservative MP Andrew MacKay was the party’s vice-chairman from 2003 to 2005, responsible for selecting candidates. He played a key role in modernizing the Conservative Party, prioritizing women and candidates from minority backgrounds.


This was followed by former Prime Minister David Cameron’s A-list, a process by which Tory ranks made society as a whole appear more representative and brought in star performers from outside the traditional party structure. is.

It was this plan that allowed him to accurately predict the Conservative Party’s first prime minister of Indian origin in 2012.

Predictions also came true thanks to his qualities evident to the party operatives who met him when he was about to enter politics. ” was impressed.

“He was clearly a superstar and a natural prime minister,” he said.

However, Sunak’s first candidacy attempt was thwarted by Oliver Dowden, who beat him in the pre-selection of the seat in Hertfordshire.

Dowden returned to the Cabinet this week by Snak and was one of the leading figures in pushing Team Rishi’s leadership campaign.

When former party leader William Haig announced he would retire from the Yorkshire seat in Richmond, one of the safest Tory seats in the north of England, Snack was named as his successor.

In his perfectly comically timed maiden speech, Sunak recounted being introduced to a Yorkshire farmer as “the new William Haig”. Like him, it’s a little fairer, but this one is more tanned. “

But the “sunburned Hague” could not be forced on the wealthy peasants of the north.

“It’s a vast area of ​​prosperous farmers who have rarely seen colored faces before,” recalls MacKay.

The Hague had to use his 25 years of political capital to persuade the local association to support the youth from Southampton.

“Associations always decide on candidates. They don’t tell you, but they can handle it sensitively,” MacKay says.

“They often want and appreciate your advice.

McKay said Sunak’s accession as prime minister justified his constant support for candidates who might otherwise have struggled to step onto the political ladder.

Snack is one of 6.9% of the UK population who ticked ‘British Indians’ in the 2011 Census.

He describes himself as “fully British” with an Indian religious and cultural heritage, and has never cast himself as a candidate for diversity.

But he consistently talks about practicing Hinduism and being British in the “generosity” shown to his immigrant parents and grandparents. Both of his grandfathers immigrated to Britain from pre-partition India and present-day Punjab, Pakistan, via East Africa.

He told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week that it provided a “visual representation” of the historical links between India and Britain.


Watching “extraordinary” and “key moments” on the other side of the world was Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who moved to Sydney from Pakistan in the 1990s.

“Less than a hundred years [ago]Like me, his ancestors were colonized and subjects of the British Empire.

falki’s book Too Immigrant, Too Muslim, Too Loud It chronicles her experiences of racism in Australia, especially since entering politics.

She argues that what prevents Australia from reaching a nirvana where diversity is normalized, where people’s backgrounds end the debate, and where politicians are judged purely on their background, is about racism. He says it’s a legacy of lack of maturity and “willful denial” when arguing. Perhaps as was the case with former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, policy and performance.

“Australia has a lot to do,” she said in a telephone interview.

Senator Meryn Falke of the Green Party.

Senator Meryn Falke of the Green Party.credit:Olive + Maeve

“The Australia you see at work is radically different from the one I live in. But if you want to talk about racism in this country and the reality of people facing it, gaslight. I am often told to return to my place of origin.”

“Racism is endemic to this country and it basically stems from land confiscation and the way this country was violently colonized.”

Diane Abbott, however, believes that British multiculturalism reflected at the highest levels of power is partly due to the empire and is not found in comparable countries, including former imperialists. It has said.

“It’s not happening in Australia, France or Germany,” she said.

“There is a bit more openness to British society. rice field.

“And what happens as a result of the empire, after the war, so many South Asians, Africans, Caribbeans came to this country and we ourselves fought for equality and fought for recognition. ‘ she said.

But she said her party needed to explore itself and gave Britain its first Jewish prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, and three female prime ministers, and now the first prime minister of color, Tory He said he needed to ask himself why he was a party. However, Disraeli was not practicing his ancestral faith by the time he was elected in 1837.

“That is something Labor needs to reflect on. “There was a time,” she said.

In the UK, the Labor Party has never had a female leader, and she needs to win the next election in two years before she can be proud to have had a black cabinet minister in one of the State Departments.

“The British public expects diversity and Labor needs to live up to it,” Mr Abbott warned.

In Australia it’s the opposite. Labor has equal female parliamentarians in its caucuses due to its quota policy and no diversity target, but the last election was pre-selected with the most diverse candidates in history.

In contrast, the coalition lags far behind in gender representation, which dropped to 1993 levels in the last election.

Faruqi said that if the Australian parliament were truly representative, it would have more than 50 members of parliament who were of non-European or British origin.

“It’s an unthinkable proposition at the moment,” she said.

McKay offers some lessons from the success of the Tories. The first is that diversity is never about meeting quotas.

“You have to work really hard, they have to be as good or better than their non-white or male counterparts.

“We didn’t want to be figurative. “

He said Sunak’s case is a good example. Shortly after winning the primary, Sunak dashed into the local constituency and woke up before dawn to talk to farmers milking their cows and participating in auction marts.

“Just as The Hague couldn’t have done without Rishi, Rishi wouldn’t have been able to do it without William,” he said.

The second lesson, he said, is that progress gains momentum on its own, justifying the need for aggressive action to break down initial barriers.

“People are more open-minded when you roll the pitch. It’s not as hard as you might think,” he said.

Snak told Exeter’s Conservative leadership back in Southampton Abbey about his Hindu faith, how it was an important part of his life and how he and his wife were raising their daughter. The audience applauded when I explained.

Cameron entered Congress in 2001, showing how far the Tory Party as a whole has come since there was not a single black or Asian colleague in the party room.

Falki can only be seen with a look of envy.

“I dream of it happening in Australia in my lifetime, but I’m not sure it will happen in my lifetime.

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https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/sunak-is-britain-s-first-asian-prime-minister-but-this-diversity-success-was-no-accident-20221027-p5btnh.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_world Snack is Britain’s first Asian prime minister, but this diversity success was no accident

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