Priti Patel’s exit won’t affect Indian influence in Britain
It was shocking news for the Indian community in Britain. The most influential British-Indian politician was ousted from the Government
There are three lessons to learn from Patel’s fall. Ambition is good, but over ambition is fatal. Second, if you want to succeed, you have to abide by the rules, especially the ministerial code of conduct. The last one is—if you want to go fast, go alone. But, if you want to go far, go together.
Patel paid the price for not being part of the community despite her ethnic surname or upbringing. The Brexit campaign was the finest example. When most of the Indian community and its leaders were campaigning and supporting Cameron to remain in the EU, she challenged the arguments by aligning with the right-wing media and right-wing politicians.
She was the poster girl of the “Leave” campaign and that undermined the credibility of her mentor Cameron. Patel was a creation of Cameron. He was promoting her along with Baroness Sayeeda Warsi to woo the Indian and Pakistani voters. Both worked hard to promote the Cameron agenda to reach No. 10. The strategy clicked. When Sayeeda was honoured with a cabinet berth, Patel was assigned to a junior treasury post.
The immigrant voters in Britain are usually loyal to the Labour Party. But Cameron doubled the ethnic vote share within five years in the Government. That helped him to retain power in 2015. He was expecting support from the entire A Team, including Patel and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in his EU Referendum campaign.
Despite differences, most of the Tory leadership, except jilted leaders like Michael Gove, were pitching for “Remain” in the EU. Patel was the first one to jump ship. There was speculation about Patel at Westminster. But she rejected every allegation calling them “mere speculations”.
Just after the announcement of the Referendum date, Patel was among the first batch of Tories to reach the Leave Campaign headquarters to offer allegiance. Cameron was betrayed. He was planning to anoint Chancellor George Osborne to the prime post in 2020.