Thursday, 14 March 2013

More Uppal humbug

The other day, MPs had a debate about the contribution of the Sikh people to British society. As a proud Sikh and currently the only one in Parliament, Paul Uppal contributed to the debate several times. Here's one little speech he made:

Paul Uppal: I cannot resist: it says something about the common sense of the people Wolverhampton that in 1950 they returned Enoch Powell to the House with a majority of 691, but they returned somebody of Sikh descent in 2010 for exactly the same constituency with a majority of 691. Rest assured, I will not make a speech about race relations in 18 years.
Hmmm. So he's proud that his pathetic majority is exactly the same as that of a man (from his party) most famous for predicting 'rivers of blood' due to immigration. Perhaps he could also address the Conservative Party's notorious racism: in Smethwick, Paul's party once campaigned under the banner 'If You Want A Nigger For A Neighbour, Vote Labour'. 

I don't think, Paul, that people voted for you because you're a Sikh. You got in because Labour's vote slumped in response to the perceived chaos of the Brown administration. 

I'm glad you don't intend to make any speeches about race relations. Firstly, you're only going to be an MP for another 2 years, and secondly because – as I'm sure you remember – the last time he did so he described those pursuing racial equality as 'the foaming McCarthyite race relations industry', in an online discussion now sadly deleted from history.  

But he gets some things right, in a moment of self-awareness:
My personal belief is that this is why we do not see more Sikhs coming forward into politics: to be a Sikh, one must always be humble and contained within oneself and always be modest. I have to tell hon. Members that that does not always fit well with politics. As we know, this business is often about self-promotion, and that goes across a central element of Sikhi, which is always to be modest.

Sikhs are taught that there are five sinful temptations that take us away from the ethos of Sikhism: Kam, which is lust; Krodh, which is rage; Lobh, which is greed, Moh, which is attachment; and Ahankar, or ego, which I have just alluded to and which is a bit of a stumbling block for many Sikhs in terms of coming into politics.
And then he goes on to extol the joys of the Sikh traitors who fought for the Raj against the Afghans in the colonial wars, as though we should be impressed and inspired to support the current appalling war. 

Paul has replaced modesty with secretiveness. He wouldn't tell me whether he'd reported his suspicions of electoral fraud to the police (he hadn't). He wouldn't tell us what degree classification he achieved. He won't tell us how he made his millions. He didn't want his photograph taken when I attended a meeting he hosted. He avoids the presentation of petitions. He always has 'a constituent' who completely agrees with him and speaks in Parliamentary language, and yet is very reluctant to give details. 

But Paul's done some good for the world's poor:
when the Prime Minister went through the Golden Temple—the Harmandir Sahib—I could see that the people who organised the trip were anxious to take him away from them, but he indicated that he wanted to meet them. As was highlighted earlier in the debate, there are four doors in a Sikh temple—one on each side—which mean that it is open to all faiths and communities. The Prime Minister met those incredibly poor people, and I can tell hon. Members how humbling it was for him.
Yeah, 'humbling'. That's the first word that springs to mind when I think of David Cameron. A shame that he avoids this country's poor (when pressed to visit a food bank, he paid an after-hours visit and met only staff) and cuts off aid to India. The poor, in Paul's view, aren't a pressing moral concern: they're props for a private psycho-drama in which one hones one's sensibility. Oh, the humanity! 

And as for this:
my oldest daughter encapsulated my feelings on Sikhism quite wonderfully when she said, “Dad we have such a cool faith, why don’t we talk about it much more?” I hope that in some small way, by making this speech this morning, I have helped that process.
Ugh. Do any children talk like this? How old is she? Still, from the speech, young enough to be bathed by her parents, but old enough to be a religious zealot. Unless, of course, this is a paraphrase. Or made up.  Surely not!

So humbug all round - but the entire debate is much better. Read it here

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