Change for Southall?

Jodha previously blogged about national-level elected Sikh leaders and rightfully noted the low representation of leaders from the UK. This week, Councillor Gurcharan Singh was chosen to represent the Conservatives as the Parliamentary Candidate for Ealing Southall.Ealing Southall has one of the highest proportions of Sikhs in any constituency in the UK and contains the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, one of the largest Sikh ealing003.jpgtemple’s outside of India. Chairman of the Ealing Southall Conservative Association, Manjit Singh notes,

“The people of Ealing Southall are fed up with Labour and want an MP who can make a difference. After the next election we will have a new Conservative Government led by David Cameron and a new Conservative MP for Ealing Southall in Gurcharan Singh. I look forward to taking our message to the voters and getting rid of this tired Labour Government and the local MP who is more interested in collecting his allowance than in serving residents.” [link]

Interestingly,Gurcharan Singh was one of five representatives who left the Labour party last year to join the Conservative party. Gurcharan Singh moved to the UK in 1972 andoriginallyjoined the Labour Party in 1976 and became a councillor in 1982. Last year,the Labour partyfaced internal division over their candidate selection and following Virendra Sharma’s selection several Sikh Labour councillors, led by Gurcharan Singh defected to the Conservative party. In June 2007 (and in the picture above with Tony Blair – Labour party) Gurcharan Singh said,

“I am full of hope for the future as this to me signals the beginning of an era where the Labour party can consolidate its leanings over the last few years and move forward with a new outlook based upon positive change. We progress.” [link]

In July 2007 (and in the picture below with David Cameron – Conservative party), Gurcharan Singh and the ‘EalingFive’stated,

“We have finally reached the stage where it has become blatantly obvious that we would be doing our own voters a great disservice if we continue to dogmatically stick with a disorganised and divided Labour Party.” [link]

ealing002.jpgHopefully our UK Langarites can help us dissect what this means for the constituency of Southall?Like most politicians, Gurcharan Singh seems to be without controversy. Questions about his involvement inthe movement forKhalistan arescattered across various blogs and sites. Interestingly, census data suggests that Sikhsonly make up about 23% of the population of Southall. In addition, it seems that Southall seems to be divided between Labour and the Conservatives. WillSikhs in Southall vote for Gurcharan Singhbecause he is Sikh or will they stick to their traditional Labour party? Also, ifI’m not wrong, Gurcharan Singhbeing electedwould mean he wouldbe the first turban wearing MP in the Commons.


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11 Responses to “Change for Southall?”

  1. Jaz Dosanjh says:

    Two points here ; Southall was a 'sikh' town in 1970's and 80's. Its been a muslim town now for more than a generation.

    Secondly, sikhs in Britain do not block vote Canadian stylee. Each is an individual who votes after looking at what the candidate has to offer. Many, like myself and millions of other Britons, do not bother voting anyway.

    The first turban wearing sikh MP in Briatin will come from a white constituency. In areas of urban England (very few sikhs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…….we're all pretty much in England)with large sikh populations, you have to remember that although the sikhs were the first south Asian immigrants who pretty much bilut those towns……over the last 30 years Pakistanis and others have come and settled into those sikh towns and replaced the sikhs as the majority.

    This is England. If its south Asians and politics you're looking at…..you need to look at the muslim Pakistanis. Its their game. Its not a game sikhs in England get involved with.

  2. Jaz Dosanjh says:

    Two points here ; Southall was a ‘sikh’ town in 1970’s and 80’s. Its been a muslim town now for more than a generation.
    Secondly, sikhs in Britain do not block vote Canadian stylee. Each is an individual who votes after looking at what the candidate has to offer. Many, like myself and millions of other Britons, do not bother voting anyway.

    The first turban wearing sikh MP in Briatin will come from a white constituency. In areas of urban England (very few sikhs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland…….we’re all pretty much in England)with large sikh populations, you have to remember that although the sikhs were the first south Asian immigrants who pretty much bilut those towns……over the last 30 years Pakistanis and others have come and settled into those sikh towns and replaced the sikhs as the majority.
    This is England. If its south Asians and politics you’re looking at…..you need to look at the muslim Pakistanis. Its their game. Its not a game sikhs in England get involved with.

  3. Joo Kay Singh says:

    You might also want to keep an eye out in the future for Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi; a young UK born Sikh, with degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He's currently a labour councilor in the Gravesend area, which also has a sizeable Sikh community.

    http://www.gravesham.gov.uk/democracy/mgUserInfo….

  4. Joo Kay Singh says:

    You might also want to keep an eye out in the future for Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi; a young UK born Sikh, with degrees from both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He’s currently a labour councilor in the Gravesend area, which also has a sizeable Sikh community.

    http://www.gravesham.gov.uk/democracy/mgUserInfo.asp?UID=316&J=1

  5. Sundari says:

    Jaz, I agree that Southall is no longer a 'Sikh' town and if the first turban wearing MP is elected, I would hope it is because of his potential to lead and not simply because he is Sikh. It doesn't seem likely, from what you said, that Sikhs would vote for a Sikh leader, the problem seems to be that Sikhs won't vote in general. That is what I kinda was getting at with post – how politically mobilized are Sikhs in England or the UK? As you suggest, not very much, but i would like to know why that may be the case? (Having grown up in England, I don't recall much mobilization around national politics, but I definitely remember it around Gurdwara politics).

    I don't think all Sikhs should have to vote for the same individual, simply because the rest of the community does [in the US we saw a lot of that occur in the last election]. However, at the very least, Sikhs should be participating in the voting process don't you think?

  6. Sundari says:

    Jaz, I agree that Southall is no longer a ‘Sikh’ town and if the first turban wearing MP is elected, I would hope it is because of his potential to lead and not simply because he is Sikh. It doesn’t seem likely, from what you said, that Sikhs would vote for a Sikh leader, the problem seems to be that Sikhs won’t vote in general. That is what I kinda was getting at with post – how politically mobilized are Sikhs in England or the UK? As you suggest, not very much, but i would like to know why that may be the case? (Having grown up in England, I don’t recall much mobilization around national politics, but I definitely remember it around Gurdwara politics).

    I don’t think all Sikhs should have to vote for the same individual, simply because the rest of the community does [in the US we saw a lot of that occur in the last election]. However, at the very least, Sikhs should be participating in the voting process don’t you think?

  7. Sundari says:

    Joo Kay Singh, thanks for the heads up. We'd definitely be interested in hearing about Tanmanjeet Singh's success. In relation to my conversation above with Jaz, I wonder if Sikhs in Gravesend would participate in the voting process? I'm familiar with Gravesend, but cannot say whether or not Sikhs are mobilized in that area… What does it mean for Sikhs when a leader who is Sikh is elected in mainstream politics? Do they feel actively involved?

  8. Sundari says:

    Joo Kay Singh, thanks for the heads up. We’d definitely be interested in hearing about Tanmanjeet Singh’s success. In relation to my conversation above with Jaz, I wonder if Sikhs in Gravesend would participate in the voting process? I’m familiar with Gravesend, but cannot say whether or not Sikhs are mobilized in that area… What does it mean for Sikhs when a leader who is Sikh is elected in mainstream politics? Do they feel actively involved?

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