Some points which identity Sikh candidates can convey at the door-step:
The constitution of the Parliament should visually represent the vision of a British multi-cultural society united by British Values
Sikhs represent a model British community with a long history of Anglo-Sikh relations, least dependent on Welfare and with an outstanding record of integration; yet, there are no identity Sikhs in the Parliament.
This General Election is an opportunity for fair-minded voters to correct that glaring omission.
The approach identity Sikh candidates should adopt when meeting voters at the door-step would depend on personality and a good grasp of the real issues. Naturally, the starting position is the manifesto of the political parties. However, for “sabat-surat” Sikh candidates the identity hurdle is an additional challenge as well as an opportunity. Otherwise, no seat is likely to be a ‘safe seat’ regardless of the majority in earlier elections.
The British people have already voted in favour of Brexit. There should be no looking back but to look forward and get the best terms. The initial economic cost will result in UK budget reductions. It will need to be managed in the fairest possible way combined with innovative cost-effective methods for delivering services. The issues of major concern relate to NHS (health-care and hospitals etc), education and pensions. The size of funding reductions in these areas will depend on the state of the economy, trade outside EU and the employment situation in future.
While, from a Brexit negotiating angle, a clear government majority is needed, the role of a strong and responsible Opposition Party must not be underrated in getting a fair deal for the most vulnerable people. From the current polls it seems that the official Opposition role will fall to the Labour Party. Sikh candidates standing for Labour will need to show a good grasp of these issues. For example, the closing of A&E (Accidents and Emergency) units is most unpopular, illogical and short-sighted. An ageing population and families need these services locally and not many miles away. (Conditions and waiting times in over-crowded A&E departments in some areas are primitive and the elderly and youngest patients suffer the most. News systems and ways of looking after the elderly can be researched and are possible as shown by other countries.
Under EU rules, immigration from Eastern-EU countries works in favour of unrestricted white immigration on a large scale when it should be based on national need, on merit basis and proven suitability to be able adjust to British values. The Sikh community has proven that through success in many fields, hard work and least dependence on state welfare. Long-standing Anglo-Sikh relations and the role of the turban-wearing Sikhs in the two World Wars, and Sikhi values based on hard work and charity are relevant factors.
Sikhs do not ask for favours but they do have a just expectation to be given the opportunity to make their contributions in British politics. Their record as a sizeable British minority is second to none.
Gurmukh Singh OBE