Tom Watson, Labour whip and Labour’s campaign director in Southall, has said: “Southall is the spiritual home of British Sikhism and they are Labour. For them to go to the Tories would be like going to a South Yorkshire coal mining areas in the 1980s and think they are going to vote for Mrs Thatcher.” Yet it seems he has not spoken to the local party. Southall Labour councillor who recently defect to the Conservatives Gurcharan Singh, who resigned on the basis that he had been refused a place on final candidate shortlist has reprotedly told The Times: “I don’t think the Labour Party is ready yet to have a turban-wearing Sikh as an MP.” This may be sour grapes, Mr Singh may be accused of playing the race card, or it may be true. Contributions on Labourhome tell an interesting story.
Swatantra comments: "the Singh's are acting like prima donnas. The white community must be laughing up their sleeves. Yet gain the Asian community has split along communal lines, and shown itself not fit to run a whelk stall. And its not the first time we've had this kind of behaviour from the Sikhs. Somebody tell me, why do we bother plugging away at community cohesion? Its the politics of the sub-continent on the streets of Southall." Very politically correct!
Without being drawn in to the comments on the situation in Ealing and Southall (I do like this post though) what it does show is that the Internet facilitates the off the cuff remark and perhaps ill-chosen comment to be instantly published in the most public of formats. If this was ConservativeHome there may well have been screams of racism (as Dizzy points out), at the very least it increases the hostility between factions. Whatever the foundation for the disaffection and subsequent defections, and however long they have been brewing, the Internet allows the back biting to be done in public and this gives a bad impression of both the party and all individuals involved.
Thus we see the risks of the open forum for parties! So is the web always the answer to the engagement question?
BTW: the picture is the Ealing Borough Coat of Arms - I publish that with a full sense of the irony there!