Well, it's all kicking of in the media.
I know and like Ali Miraj a great deal and he is a talented and effective campaigner, however I think that he was wrong in what he wrote about Witham Conservatives on his blog and foolish to have written it.
My colour is not the first thing that I think about in the morning and it's not the last thing I think about at night. In fact it is only part of what makes me what I am. My schooling, geography, occupation, sex, military background, etc, etc, etc all have a significant impact on what and who I am. When looking for a seat to fight at the next general election all of these things come into play, assuming your success or otherwise is solely because of one factor is unrealistic.
There are a lot of talented people on the Conservative priority list and not very many "safe" seats. That is always going to make it hard to find a safe seat.
I got through to the interview stage at Witham, along with Ali, and Priti Patel. That's 3 black/Asian candidates out of 16 (so I am led to believe) interviewed, that's almost 20%, twice the national percentage for BME numbers and about ten times the percentage of the BME population in rural Essex.
That doesn't sound racist to me.
BME candidates can get selected in "safe" seats, Shailesh Vara and Adam Afriyie are proof of that but it is hard for everyone. I did some work for Dominic Grieve MP when I first started out on this treadmill, he became something of a mentor to me, he is white, a man, a barrister, a public schoolboy, an Oxbridge graduate, straight out of "central casting". He confided to me that he very nearly gave up on becoming an MP because of the difficulty he had finding a "winnable" seat. At the 11th hour he was selected for Beaconsfield, one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. When it comes to politics, no one gets a free ride.
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