Meet Baroness Warsi of the House of Lords, British-Pakistani, Cabinet Member And Chairwoman Of The Conservative Party Of Britain

Those who followed my facebook updates about the British elections would remember that I was pro-Conservative Party.  There were many reasons for it but reason number 1 was Ms. Sayeeda Warsi, whose political career I have closely followed for two years.  Sayeeda Warsi is the kind of leadership British Pakistanis ought to have and only the British Conservative Party could have had the right sense to have chosen her.   The Labour Party on the other hand has always been too busy appeasing Islamists and promoting people like Lord Nazeer Ahmed. 

Here is the statement I want to make :   PAKISTAN is an extremely large country.   The expatriate population from Pakistan is reflective of that diversity.   You are bound to find all kinds of people from this community.  It is important then to remember that Sayeeda Warsi,  British conservative,  bane of the Islamists and a stateswoman of the highest calibre is ALSO OF PAKISTANI ORIGIN-YLH

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Meet Baroness Warsi of the House of Lords, British-Pakistani, Cabinet Member And Chairwoman Of The Conservative Party Of Britain

  1. Praveen

    Nice, may such beings prosper. May the fundos burn in hell.

  2. Not sure I agree with you on this YLH. As someone who lives in London and also closely follows British politics, I would not agree that Labour “has been busy appeasing Islamists”. At the end of the day, most successful politicians, whether they are Lord Nazir, Syeda Warsi, Shahid Malik, Sadiq Khan, etc. are pragmatic, but one thing is for sure—Labour policies for the average Pakistani or Muslim are far better. And already I have had so many students here complain to me that their prospects of finding jobs in UK are being dimmed by the Conservative victory. These kids are no extremists—they just want to make a living and be treated as equals. Labour definitely had an excellent immigrant-friendly policy to its credit.

    And one more piece of trivia—in June 2008, I attended a seminar at the House of Commons organized by the Conservative Muslim Women’s Group—of which I am definitely NOT a member—but I just went to the seminar because I like to follow these things. Syeda Warsi, being prominent in the group was a key organizer. The seminar moreover was called “The Future of Pakistan” so there was natural interest on my part—there were a number of speakers and with the exception of one or two—a lot of Pakistan bashing. I missed Maliha Lodhi who normally did a very good job of putting these wagging mouths in their place, but unfortunately we had an acting High Commissioner at the time, who just couldn’t do justice to Pakistan’s cause. One of the speakers, Ziauddin Sardar, got up and the first thing he said was, “Look at India. Look at Pakistan. The difference between the two is Islam. That is why India is ahead and Pakistan so far behind.” Now even if he had made the same exact statement and attributed the difference to democracy, I would have lived with it but to bash Islam in that way and then go on to claim that Pakistan’s problem is that it was made for Islam—it sounded kind of like the piece that that idiot Dhume wrote in WSJ recently. And Syeda Warsi was organizing this seminar—I even wrote to her after the seminar asking her, very politely, to choose better or at least a more diverse group of speakers the next time—-no response, unsurprisingly. There is a reason why most Pakistanis and Muslims don’t support the Tories. And I say this even though their victory helps my taxes but I could never get myself to support them.

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    Well in all things British, I consider you an expert so I won’t argue with you about this.

    However… my feeling is that a liberal Pakistani of a good education and a world view like you will probably be more at home with the conservative party than the crowd that visits the labour party.

  4. Thanks, but I can assure you that most well-educated progressive Pakistanis support Labour, and not the Conservatives. The only reason I have been given by people supporting Conservatives is that they are good for taxes. And btw you may be surprised but even the relatively fundo-minded well-to-do ones vote Conservative because a lot of people simply vote their pocket. This one guy in particular—always eats halal (not that there is anything wrong with that but I am simply painting a picture), supports polygamy, is sympathetic to Hizb ut Tahrir….you get the picture….when it comes time to cast his vote, votes Conservative! Why? Because he owns several businesses here and Labour hits him on taxes. I joked with him and said, “I thought you should be voting Lib Dem, given your views.” And he says, “Are you kidding? They’re even worse than labour when it comes to taxes!”

  5. YLH

    Well that can only be a positive sign… economics not ideology should govern political decisions.

  6. Bushra Ansari

    Well in all things American, I on the other side of the pond want to remind my English cousins that Mr. Barak Obama had a great support of the American Muslims while the conservatives in this country were busy Muslim-bashing and their conservative radio talk show host continually make fun of Muslim names they find hard to pronounce because of their lack of not being able to tolerate diversity. I know that English cousins have a head start on the British political scene we American Muslims are not far behind and trust me it will be with the Democratic party NOT the Republican party that is 100% behind Israel while the Democrats are slowly taking Israel to task for it unjust policies and the Obama-Clinton tough stand has not pleased the conservatives

  7. YLH

    As a student of British and American history I think it would be a grave mistake to compare British Conservative Party to American Republican Party. Perhaps the similarity between the tories and republicans existed when Lincoln was in the White House but certainly not afterwards.

    The class backgrounds are completely different. Indeed in terms of class and education the Democrats have more in common with the Conservatives than the Republicans do.
    The British conservatives would never consider someonelike a Reagan or junior Bush a candidate for premiership.

    And since the question of who is better for whom has come up …let us do some fact correction. Admittedly the Quaid-e-Azam was a member of both Labour Party and Fabian Socialists but labour denied him a ticket to the house of commons because he was “too well dressed” and a bit of a “toff”.

    It was the Conservative Party that leant support to Muslim League at a time when the entire labour government was partisan towards the Congress.

  8. YLH

    Erratum lent

  9. I think Bushra Ansari makes a very valid comparison. “The Democrats have more in common with the Conservatives than the Republicans??” Where are you getting this from YLH??

    Don’t you remember the Thatcher-Reagan partnership—the two had a lot in common. Labour, and especially New Labour since 1997 is very close to the Democratic Party in the US in its outlook, barring of course certain cultural differences. I think the example you cite of Jinnah is very old and not relevant today.

  10. Bushra Ansari

    Many Muslim Americans also changed their party affiliations for the last election. The country’s Muslim population, estimated at between 7 to 8 million, has traditionally voted along conservative, Republican lines. Today, more than two thirds of American Muslims polled say they consider themselves to be Democrats, while only 4 percent see themselves as Republicans (29 percent identified themselves as Independents.) The shift began in 2004—in part because of the GOP’s mishandling of civil liberties, from wiretapping American citizens to detaining Muslims in the United States and Guantanamo without trial, and because of the war in Iraq. Last year, many more were drawn into the Democratic party by Obama himself. Muslims across the country were captivated by the senator’s promise of unity and hope. On the Muslim-Americans for Obama Web site (Mafo2008.com), their mission statement includes the following: “That we support Barack Obama because, among other reasons, he rejects the politics of fear, challenging our nation to embrace its collective identity, where each American has a stake in the success and well-being of every American.”

    Not that I consider Regan a true conservative remember he was a “Democrat” before he was a “Conservative Republican” the conservatives needed a charismatic voice to sell their ideology and so they hired him with the help of Nancy Regan who was the hiring agent and a woman who Regan adored. I think he was merely a puppet and all his great lines were either fed to him or he was using his acting talents and even now the conservatives consider him as their “GOD.” Maggie Thacher was probably turned on by his Hollywood image than his conservative skills. The American conservatives have always been searching for a JFK, the good looking man who the nation adored so the best they could come up with is Regan.
    My burning question is why has the Pakistani media down played Baroness Warsi?

  11. Bushra,

    You may not be following—the Pakistani press has really played up Baroness Warsi—far more than was warranted.

  12. Just to add to the previous post—one reason she was most likely played up in Pakistan is because she often wears shalwar kameez—and we are suckers for what “appears Muslim/Pakistani” more than how much of an actual difference it may or may not make. Baroness Warsi is appointed and hence quite likely to toe the party line on most issues. She has not won an election in Britain—a fact entirely lost on the Pakistani press, and as a result, many other Pakistanis who don’t live in UK. On the other hand, people like Yasmeen Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood and Rushanara Ali have all won elections here (ahem, all on Labour tickets) and are far more worthy of press in Pakistan in my view—but people have just become obsessed with Ms. Warsi instead.

  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    I wrote a detailed response somehow it has gone missing.

    Ayesha…

    The Thatcher-Reagan comparison is no match to Bush-blair for example.

    My comment about commonalities was vis a vis education and class background.

    Having canvassed for the Democratic Party in the US in 2000, my view of Democrats was that they hail from the upper-East Coast elite, private school types. They often family ties with conservatives across the Atlantic.

    Remember American politics has taken many turns… all those whose antecedents voted for Lincoln’s Republicans today vote Democrat and all those who voted Jefferson Davis’ Democrats vote republican… the right and left aren’t quite the same in the US as they are in the UK. Till the 1960s it wasn’t very clear which side the democrats and republican fell on. After all wasn’t George Wallace a Democrat?

    And if you go further back… the most prolific democrat presidential candidate was a Christian fundamentalist i.e. William Jennings Bryan.

    Now you said… the Jinnah event is old news… well the attitudes have only hardened since then. I was hearing labour commentators taking up the Prime Minister Eton-Oxford education into issue.

    Imagine… President Obama being taken to task for going to Harvard Law?

  14. Yasser,

    First of all, let me say that class backgrounds and education is not something I am concerned with at all when I look at a party—what I am concerned with is where they stand on issues. And honestly, I am a bit disturbed by your elitism here. In this context, let me also try to explain to you the difference between bringing up Eton-Oxford as very different from bringing up Harvard. The public school system in the UK (known as comprehensive schools) is nowhere near as good as the American public school system. While a very large number of students from public schools end up at Harvard in the US, it is not so for Oxford. Eton of course is known for its old-boy upper class network and having an easy ‘in’ into a place like Oxford. So if the remark was made, it was made in the context of being detached from the problems that plague the common man—something that one could not accuse either Obama or Bill Clinton of, but is something that Democrats accused McCain of often in the last US election.

    Though you may be very aware of how the Democrats and Republicans have changed over the years, it appears that you are not so aware of how the British political scene has changed in the last couple of decades. Do you know for example that today both Conservatives and Labour have as 10% of their party members ex-bankers from Goldman, Morgan, etc? The divide in class background (if that is important to you—it certainly is not to me) is not as grand as it used to be. Moreover, people like David Miliband, whose father was an avowed very left socialist, is quite centrist himself, having studied at MIT and being married to an American. Nevertheless, most old school racist white aristocrats still tend to gravitate towards the Conservatives. This is not the entire make-up of the party but this is certainly a part of it. And this is quite similar to how I view the Republicans—I don’t think Obama could have ever gotten their nomination for President. Things may change for them now after Obama is elected, they may look for a token minority in the form of Bobby Jindal or something, much in the same vein that Cameron has promoted Syeda Warsi, but the openness and tolerance for diversity is nowhere near the same as it is for the left-leaning parties.

    As for right and left not being the same in the US and the UK—ask Wall Street—most of them can’t wait to see the back of Obama, even those who fell for his charisma and voted for him—are you following his legislation on banking and healthcare? The difference in Britain is that here socialism is not a bad word, the way it is in America—I think this is a good thing and that is why Britain has a decent healthcare program for everyone–not to mention council housing in the best parts of town, not ghetto-izing the downtrodden to one side. During New Labour under Blair, however, the right\left divide has been blurred in UK too and some consider this to be the reason for their recent defeat, i.e., that they lost touch with their core constituency. Your point about Bush-Blair is well-taken, but that is a very complicated point—a lot of it had to do with Blair’s religious streak and the fact that Islamophobia was growing in Europe in any case due to certain demographic changes, but still, I would have to say that on many counts, Blair tempered Bush and this would not have been the case if Cameron had been there in his place, for example.

    BTW, great piece in DT today—I fully endorse your views on the creation of Pakistan and you have a very eloquent way of presenting those views.

  15. YLH

    Well like I said you live there so you know better.

    However US public school system is in my view worse than the British Comprehensive (non-GCSE) school system.

    Interesting point about Miliband but I still think you are being uncharitable towards the British conservatives when you compare them to republicans.

    Republican party in essence is the equivalent of conservatives + BNP…who have an internal warfare … So for example Powell v Cheney camps.

  16. Just to clarify, when I say that the US public schools system is good, what I mean is that it feeds a large percentage of students into the best of American universities and to a large extent bypasses intrinsic advantages that children from more affluent families have–not entirely bypasses of course, but does so far more than in Britain, where a class system is more entrenched (it is retracting but is still far more entrenched that in the US). The advantages of attending Eton for instance are far more than attending Philipps Andover in the US.

    As far as BNP goes, they have not won any seats in this election. And where do you think that residual vote has gone? It has gone to the Conservatives. Immigration was a big issue in this election. Labour had extremely good policies for all sorts of immigrants—much better in fact than what the Democrats in the US offer. And of course this sparked resentment among certain whites (particularly those who were unemployed)—Conservatives campaigned against those Labour policies without the stark racism of BNP and did steal away BNP’s voters, which was their aim. In fact, Syeda Warsi’s own constituency saw this dynamic—where a Conservative candidate won for the first time since 1983 (if memory serves me), defeating Labour’s Shahid Malik.