Author Archives: Shoaib Bajwa

Faith values in politics can be a force for good?

You don’t need to be a church going person to learn and practice positive faith values in the society. The separation of church and state is a phrase that’s often used in reference to politics in the context of religious faith. In the US, the distinction between religion and politics is often blurred – you only have to listen to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio addressing party loyalists to see just how intertwined the two are. But here in the UK there’s something of a taboo about conflating the two. In fact faith values in politics can be an immense force for good, just as they can outside politics.

Here in the UK, unlike our cousins across the Atlantic, we have an established church and our head of state is also the head of this church. This dual rule has been much reduced since the days of Henry VIII. There was once a time when the UK politics was presided over by a monarch who was both president and pope. Gradually their role faded, and religion was replaced by political philosophy as the driving force behind British political ideology. It has led to something of an institutional silence by our political leaders to use the language of faith in political discourse. Think of the reaction that Prime Minister David Cameron received when he stated that he was prepared to ‘do God’ and take his faith into account when carrying out his duties. He was lauded and criticised in almost equal measure. But ‘doing God’ – or allowing your religious beliefs to impact upon your political outlook – does not need to be a negative thing. In fact, faith can be an immensely positive in politics and the society as long you interpret it correctly and of course you don’t try to force it on others. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 10 Comments

Do we need to reinforce our open-minded, tolerant and liberal credentials?

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities represent a growing proportion of the UK. In 2010 they made up a total of 14% of the population and 8% of the voters. Yet at the last general election the majority (52%) of BAME voters cast their ballot for Labour not the Lib Dems. In fact over two thirds – 67% – of the black community voted Labour, with 38% of the Asian community voting Conservative.

Lib Dem opposition to the Iraq war in 2003 won the party a legion of new supporters, many from BAME communities, who felt let down by Labour’s march to war. The result was that in the 2005 general election the Lib Dems polled 16% from ethnic minority voters, with support particularly high amongst Pakistani voters amongst whom they polled 25%. Fast forward a decade and Lib Dem support among BAME voters in 2015 had collapsed to just 4%. It’s clear that the Party urgently needs to address this, and find neat innovative ways to appeal to BAME voters whose trust has been lost perhaps because of lack of engagement and lack of attention at the top of the party.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • Peter Martin
    @ Peter Parsons, The 6% figure for food is over two years. So that would be 3% p.a. on inflation. Even so the paper you reference give a worst case 1.1% for ...
  • Peter Davies
    Cost of living may be the main issue but it will never be our issue. It's the Tories issue (in a totally negative way). We only gain if we are putting forward a...
  • Fiona
    You raise some very good points Charley that need more consideration in decision making at all levels. Unfortunately, as seems inevitable these days, anything a...
  • John Barrett
    I too was sorry to hear you had been going through all this. Hopefully in the weeks and months ahead things will improve, and the medical world will wake up to ...
  • John Barrett
    Really sad to read this news. He was a lovely man. Having travelled abroad with him many years ago to a variety of meetings, he was always kind, thoughtful and ...