In the UK, we have a Disability Minister that voted against protecting benefits for disabled children and cancer patients (Justin Tomlinson), a Justice Secretary that longs for the repeal of the Human Rights Act (Michael Gove), a Culture Secretary that is decimating the BBC (John Whittingdale), a Minister of Equality that voted against same-sex marriage (Caroline Dinenage) and a Secretary of Health that is currently plaguing the NHS (Jeremy Hunt). Given this Government’s oxymoronic cabinet and its historical stance on social justice, should we really be surprised to learn that the Conservative mayoral candidate for next Thursday’s elections, Zac Goldsmith, has based his campaign on the old colonial tactics of divide and rule in arguably the most cosmopolitan city in the world?
Admittedly no, we really shouldn’t, but the latest Zac Goldsmith campaign of racial profiling that has targeted British Muslims continues to be a lingering and unresolved tension that has deeply unsettled the national consciousness of ethnic minorities here in the UK. Much of the rhetoric in the letters and leaflets posted to Asian households are ruthlessly dehumanising, patronising and exploitative of the socio-historical tensions that still exist, but have diminished significantly among the Punjabi-Sikh, Hindu-Gujarati and Pakistani-Muslim communities in recent years, which is why even for Conservatives this attack is below the belt. This divisive hate-led propaganda that has infiltrated London letter boxes is shocking chiefly because it’s fundamentally antagonistic to the ethos of the Conservative Party, namely that of ‘One Nation, One United Kingdom‘, a policy of unity David Cameron swore to conform to in his manifesto during last year’s general election.
This brings us to the crux of this counter-campaign which our video essentially calls to challenge, namely the endorsement from David Cameron as he signed this declaration of segregation. This is the hypocrisy in question – the fact that on one end of the political spectrum this party vouches for multiculturalism and unity, but in the blink of an eye, they are quick to change gear and exploit the plight of ethnic minorities in order to serve their own subjective intentions of cultural domination. The video stresses how out of touch Goldsmith really is with respect to the first principles of democracy as he continuously fails to bring social justice issues to the fore.
Consequently, this video also aims to expose and challenge the cultural manipulation of ethnic minorities by the Conservative Government and their futile attempts to ethnically bargain for our vote in order to retain social control of the capital. Many of the arguments presented by the Goldsmith campaign are stretched beyond their validity and the tactics are reminiscent of the Trump and Cruz phenomena across the pond. Further to the parallels drawn to fascism, this wedge planted by the Conservatives and the level of desperation in Goldsmith’s desperate campaigning tactics to divide and exploit religious hostility among ethnic minorities is analogous to that of the fall of Nazi Germany in a time which gave rise to the first non-Germanic Waffen SS Division, namely the 13th Waffen Mountain Division, led by Heinrich Himmler and compromising primarily of Bosnian, Croatian and Albanian Muslim volunteers who were largely incentivised to join by the thought of eradicating the Jewish population. Could it be that, like the fall of Nazi Germany, as Zac continues to trail behind the Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan, this divisive campaign reflects a coalition attempt to prevent a Muslim mayor comprising of Sikh and Hindu Conservatives incentivised by religious and cultural ideological differences?
Irrespective of this analogy, both Cameron and Goldsmith remain unapologetic in justifying their policies based on racial stereotypes and continue to clutch away at minority straws. In fact, it’s quite clear the entire campaign is based on the supposition formulated by the Conservative Government’s impression that there exists some quasi-state of alterity between Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims in London which they are actively seeking to exploit, in waging a war against Islam and implicitly allowing what Conservative Peter Oborne describes as the “emergence of a soft-apartheid against Muslims“. But to denounce Muslim candidates on the mere fact of their religious status affronts the principles of integration I and many others believe in and insults every single, hard-working, tax-paying, decent Muslim member of our community.
The letters that were sent to Sikh and Hindu families were sent with the only aim and objective to persuade these communities to reject the possibility of a Muslim Pakistani Mayor. The issue with these social stereotype based policies is that they neglect, misrepresent and abandon any substantial socio-political interest of British-Asians. We are constantly presented with this ultimatum that we are either with the Conservative party or against them. In our attempts to defend Muslims, we are ridiculed and labelled as terrorist sympathisers, and by attacking them we are awarded and shortly noticed as model minorities. As Sikhs we must confront this dichotomy as we are on the frontline of Islamophobic hate crimes daily and we too, as citizens of a sovereign state, ought to be concerned with greater cross-party social issues such as income disparity, civic participation, public spending, infrastructure and the quality of our health and education services as opposed to Islamophobia. We must exercise our citizenry right of voting in a well-informed and rational manner to avoid falling victim to fear mongering and divisive wedge-campaigning that contains little objective analysis of the social issues that concern our communities.
Our video urges the entire London electorate to simply vote for a candidate other than Zac Goldsmith because voting is the greatest capacity by which we can democratically protest all of the above arguments and prevent the conquest of ourselves, our minds, our humanity, our people and our self respect by the Conservative administration. To quote June Jordan, “We are the ones we have been waiting for” hence why I (Sikh Talk) and Sahib Singh (Inquilab Channel), both infuriated by this patronising and insulting campaign tactic, immediately produced this video so that we could present an adversarial point of view that can be confidently shared by those who want to reject such propaganda. The more we share, the stronger we stand in solidarity against social and political campaigns based on racism, bigotry and racial profiling by our national representatives; may our numbers swell and increase.