Battle For Britain

By Sunil Kumar

With only a few days to go for the general elections in Britain; it’s time to take a look at what is expected to happen; and what the implications could be for the big Indian diaspora. As a country; British impact on the global stage pales in comparison to the United States; a fact highlighted by the fact that PM Modi has still not visited that country; despite his numerous visits abroad.

First-generation Indians settled in the U.K traditionally voted Labour; as the Conservatives represented the entrenched racist clique that had lorded over an empire for centuries. Circa 2015; 2 million Indians have proved to be influential enough to attract Cameron’s attention. Labour and Ed Miliband remain the dark horses in this race; with the rise of Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalist Party.

With 25 peers and 180 councillors of Indian origin; there remains ample scope for Modi to leverage India‘s soft power. There remains no influential power broker for the British Hindu community; and national aerospace is more devoted to the other religions from the subcontinent; namely Sikhism and Islam.

With the UKIP on the Euro-skeptic bandwagon; it would be interesting to watch how Britain’s economy transforms in the next five years. Indian businessmen have been among the largest investors in the country; and instability in governance could seriously impact its long-term future. Enoch Powell; a classics scholar famous for his racist “Rivers of Blood Speech“; gave the example of India when he equated the incompatibility of democracy and communalism.

Today’s Britain still has vexed race relations; but this largely stems from the Pakistanis; Bangladeshis and the Caribbean community. Powell’s biased observations came from his personal ambition to become Viceroy of India; and the traditional British disdain for the more effete intellectual civilization spawned by Hindu and Buddhist ideals; their flirtation and fear of the jehadist world. The BNP and the UKIP are only successors to the latent anti-immigration feeling within its citizens.

While doublespeak is a charming British vice; it remains to be seen how the BJP government plans to build better brand equity in the U.K; bolster the interests of its citizens and get more investment into India. The country’s embassy in London is a heritage monument; and lags behind its neighbors in proactively looking after the interests of its citizens. Even Pakistanis and Bangladeshis get a better deal.

Cameron comes out looking the most suave and erudite of the lot; but whether the clever politician will be accepted by the British electorate; thwart Miliband and become PM again; is anybody’s guess. His Jewish origins are accepted in today’s multi-cultural Britain; even though there was considerable racism against Baroness Warsi; the British-Pakistani peer from the Conservative Party.

Although the government has a lot of things on its plate; it’s time Modi’s government came out in full support of its citizens and businesses. The hypocrisy around capitalism is a disgusting act; with practically every political party in history from the sanctimonious Aam Aadmi Party to the the UKIP being funded by rich interests. The British election has not been analyzed in great detail by media pundits in India; and deserves to be taken a little more seriously.

Regardless of the outcome; the country’s PR initiative has increased considerably in the nearly one-year existence of the Modi government; but there seemed to be no significant attempt made to make Britain and its 650 Westminster members more amenable to India. With a long association between the two nations; India can positively benefit from the U.K.’s association in creative industries; and some other critically controlled sectors.

As the Battle for Britain reaches its climax; may the best person for India and its diaspora win!




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