When my father arrived here in the 70’s he came with lots of hope and desire to contribute to Britain. In Lahore, he was taught by British teachers who had stayed after India and Pakistan became independent in 1945. My dad would look at paintings of the Queen and sing the national anthem and be told that he was a valued member of the commonwealth and that he made Britain ‘Great’. It’s because of this I grew up in a ‘royalist’ household and we religiously watched the Queen’s Christmas speech every year and stood up when we heard the musical notes of ‘God Save the Queen’. And yet from the day my dad arrived in London, he was called Paki (because it was funny), saw landlords refusing to let him rent properties (until his white friends asked) and being passed over for promotion by every white inexperienced colleague. Despite the casual and overt racism, my father loved this country and he did feel welcome. Strange but true.
100 days ago I had the honour of being elected as a Liberal Democrat London-Wide Assembly Member. We doubled our representation at City Hall and became a group again, with Caroline Pidgeon as the leader.
I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of hundreds of members and activists, the fantastic team of GLA candidates, team members led by Anood Al-Samerai and the inspiring Mayoral candidates Luisa Porritt. Thank you to all who achieved this result.