COLOMBO: While ten Indians, nine Pakistanis, three Bangladeshis and even a Sinhalese, have entered the British parliament in the general election held on Thursday, not a single Tamil has made it, though the population of Lankan Tamils in the UK is said to be between 300,000 and 400,000.
There were only two Tamil candidates, Uma Kumaran (Labour -Harrow East) and Sockalingam Yogalingam (National Liberal Party-Ruislip), and both lost.
“Uma Kumaran lost because of the major anti-Labor Party swing, and Yogalingam was a candidate of a small, new, party. However, apart from these particular factors, there are general factors inhibiting Tamil political participation,” explained S.A.N.Rajkumar, a London-based human rights activist.
“The Tamils are a small community as compared to the Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. And unlike the other South Asians, they are geographically dispersed. Nowhere are they big enough to count politically,” he told Express on Sunday.
The Tamils are also relatively recent immigrants, he pointed out.
“It’s only a third generation immigrant who feels confident enough to take to local politics and aim at parliament. Most of the Tamils in the UK are either first or second generation immigrants.” Rajkumar said.
And the Tamils lack encouragement from their families and the Tamil community to enter politics.
“ To the typical Tamil, with lingering memories of politics back in Sri Lanka or India, politics is a dirty game which decent men and women should avoid. It will take time for them to realize that politics in Britain is a different,” he said.
The other inhibiting factor is the Tamils’ single minded involvement in the rights issue in Lanka and what is happening in the UN Human Rights Council, to the exclusion of what is happening in British politics. But this is changing.
“The local councils have many Tamils. And with Tamil businesses beginning to contribute to mainstream political parties, the community will be accommodated by these parties in course of time,” Rajkumar said.
Pro-Tamil Conservative MPs, Lee Scott and Nick De Bois, lost in Thursday’s British election.
Their failure to win their constituencies is considered a big blow to Tamils seeking International Investigation on ‘War Crime’ by Sri Lankan forces which killed more than 40,000 Tamil Civilians in May 2009 alone. The Sri Lankan government is accused of killing or made to go missing (by abduction in famous ‘White Vans’ operated by the government forces with the blessing of Rajapaksha brothers) of more than 146,679 Tamils and opponents of the government. The British governments have repeatedly called for ‘International Investigation’ and supported the views of UN.
The Sri Lankan government have refused to allow any International Investigation as this will expose the killing of thousands of Tamil Civilians by the Sri Lankan force. A recent United Nations report says that up to 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final weeks of the conflict, which ended in May 2009.
Amal Abeyawardene of the Conservative Friends of Sri Lanka (CFSL) said the outcome of the British election is good news for Sri Lanka. He said the CFSL has mustered an able group of Conservative MPs supportive of Sri Lanka. “We are happy to see the re-election of friends of Sri Lanka such as James Wharton, Andrew Rosindell, Matthew Offord and Bob Blackman“, he told The Sunday Island.” is also a strong ally of Sri Lanka and we have also now got our own MP in Ranil Jayawardane”, he said.
Pro Sri Lankan Government MP’s who wants to HIDE the killing of the thousands of Tamil Civilians by the Sri Lankan Forces under Rajapakshe Rule as per CFSL are
James Wharton – Four visits in nine months and statements in the Commons on the controversial Rajapaska regime. He has been invited so many times by the Sri Lankan government, paid for by the Sri Lankan government so many times and that they are wining and dining him so often at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London
Matthew Offord – The short video was released as the British government announced that MPs are now banned from accepting all expenses paid trips to Sri Lanka. The video showed that the following MPs who spoke during the debate had accepted all expenses paid trips to Sri Lanka.
Liam Fox – Channel 4 News has found evidence suggesting that a trust fund which Dr Fox claimed to have ‘created’was actually set up and funded by a London-based corporate intelligence company. It was this fund that repeatedly paid for Dr Fox’s business-class air fares to and from Sri Lanka, and his accommodation, whilst Shadow Defence Minister.
Bob Blackman(?) – Sri Lankan Government and the defence forces, who were also responsible for war crimes during the war, are still around. They have to answer for the crimes that they created, and the crimes against the Tamil people. I have constituents who have raised with me the names of individuals who surrendered—they have the names, the dates and the times. They surrendered with their religious leaders, yet they are missing. They are lost. They are gone.
During my visit to Sri Lanka some two-and-a-half years ago, I presented the list to Government Ministers and said, “Where are these people? You took them in, yet they are missing. They are gone, and their relatives want closure.” No answer came, because there is no answer, but if those people were eliminated—murdered—those were war crimes, so the Sri Lankan Government and the individuals responsible have to answer the questions.
Of 650 seats, the Conservatives clinched 330 seats, Labour 232, Scottish National Party (SNP) 56, Liberal Democrats 8, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) 1 and others 23 seats.
Immediately after the results were declared Labour Leader, Ed Miliband, Liberal Democratic leader, Nick Clegg and UKIP leader, Nigel Farage announced their resignations accepting the responsibility for the poor show.
Of the FIVE contestants of Sri Lankan origin who contested the election, only Ranil Jayawardena was able to romp home. He contested the North East Hampshire seat from the Conservative Party. He won by a majority of 29,916 votes. He polled a total of 35,573 votes.
Jayawardena’s parents migrated to England in the 1970s. His father, Nalin Jayawardena was a magistrate. Born in the UK, Ranil Jayawardane grew up in Hook and went to school in Odiham in Hampshire province. Later he graduated from the London School of Economics and worked at the Lloyds Bank before he ventured into politics. He has served as a local Councillor since 2008 and was Deputy Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council before becoming being elected MP for North East Hampshire.
Ranil Jayawardena was in for a nasty experience during his election campaign. An undercover Daily Mirror journalist recorded a comment from UKIP candidate for North East Hampshire, Robert Blay, who made racist remarks and threatened to put a bullet between his (Jayawardena’s) eyes, if he were to become the Britain’s first Asian Prime Minister. Blay was immediately suspended from the party after the news was published. Blay who polled 4,732 votes later tried to shake hands with Jayawardena to congratulate him, but the newly-elected young MP ignored him.
Mr Ranil Jayawardena is the second person of Sri Lankan origin elected to British parliament.
Niraj Deva MEP – The first Sri Lankan born British MP was Niranjan Devadithya (NiranjanJoseph De Silva Deva Aditya) in 1992, who won Brentford & Isleworth seat also for the Conservatives.
In 1999 Nirj Deva, a Sinhalese, became the first Asia-born person to be elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament. He is a close associate of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda accused of ‘War Crime’ for killing of thousands of Tamil Civilians, Niraj has a Sinhalese is accused of supporting the killing of Tamil Civilians by the SL forces and misleading the European Union. Sri Lankan born European Parliamentarian Nirj Deva, who has wide business interests in Sri Lanka.
Ms Chamali Fernando a barrister who contested at Cambridge from the Conservative Party polled 8,117 votes. Labour Candidate Daniel Zeichner won the seat by mustering 18,646 votes.
Ms Uma Kumaran who contested for Harrow East Seat lost and received 19,911 votes. She was defeated by Conservative candidate Bob Blackman who polled 24,668 votes.
Ms Rathy Alagaratnam of UK Independence Party contested for the Dulwich & West Norwood constituency. She polled only 1,606 votes. Labour candidate Helen Hayes won the seat by securing 27,772 votes.
Mr Sockalingam Yogalingam of of National Liberal Party contested Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner received only 166 votes. Conservative Party candidate Nick Hurd won the seat receiving 30,521 from the strong conservative constituency.
The video showed that the following MPs who spoke during the debate had accepted all expenses paid trips to Sri Lanka.
James Wharton – two trips to Sri Lanka worth £6,400 paid for by the Sri Lankan government
Ian Paisley Jr – trip to Sri Lanka worth £3,200 paid for by the Sri Lankan government
Aidan Burley – trip to Sri Lanka worth £5,800 paid for by the Sri Lankan government
Matthew Offord – trip to Sri Lanka worth £3,200 paid for by the Sri Lankan government
David Morris – trip to Sri Lanka worth £3,200 paid for by the Sri Lankan government