Louise Burfitt-Dons: A return to family values could win the Tories ethnic votes
The differences in lifestyle between a young Muslim girl and a five-year-old white child whose parents were both born in Hertfordshire are stark. The similarity between the two is that both are loved to bits by their parents. I was born and brought up in Kuwait, so I know this first hand. Traditional family values are global; they cross all cultural and economic barriers and for good reason. They are deeply conservative – and that is our common link with ethnic voters.
Talk about respect, tolerance, or compassion and you can engage with anyone. Next to the rising price of household essentials and how to pay for them, the welfare of our loved ones comes next. But how do you get that conversation going?
The recent move to modernise in every area possible has alienated not just much of the party faithful but also much of our ethnic population. Traditional values are the bedrock of the Sikhs, the Jews and even the atheists. Somalis deeply value family, as do the Irish, the Poles, the Indians, and the Nigerians. There’s no country or creed ignores the life-shaping influence of the family unit for a stable society.
Voters are ripe for traditional conservative messages. Ordinary mother and fathers are maxed out on liberal living. Sex, drugs and the internet are pushed at an increasingly younger age to their children. Single parent homes, despite being glamourised in the media by wealthy celebrities, are often lonely and angst-ridden. Traditional homes, wherever possible, are invaluable to us all. You can’t replace basic family training with state intervention; the thousands of things that children learn over time at home: communication, compassion, responsibility, punctuality, the work ethic, or just simple tasks like changing a light bulb or peeling a potato.
Recent Government measures, such as the Coalition’s cap on Universal Benefits, have started to reverse the trend of social irresponsibility. The message that going out to work pays is a good one. But now is the time to reflect on home issues that also contribute to standing on your own two feet. Traditional parents deserve policies which empower them, but which reward their sacrifice and commitment at the same time.
For too many years the ethnic community has regarded the Tories as just the choice of the wealthy. We are also the party of the family. Get that message out there and the Conservatives can emerge as their party to support in 2015.