Firstly let me congratulate you on your elevation and I am sure that you will meet many challenges ahead in the rapidly changing portfolio around communities. You have clearly worked hard in the Conservatives and are seen as a mentor to some. Well done!
On a separate note, it seems that your statements that supporters of the British National Party have ‘very legitimate views’ is I am sure a slip up since people who support the British National Party may have fears around immigration, employment and possibly community safety. Yet, many of the concerns arise from resources and a perceived lack of resources for indigenous groups. It is also a fact that there are pockets where young white men are socially stuck in an environment where there are housing issues, no real employment and low aspirations and certainly they must be assisted to bring them from the margins into the mainstream. They should have the opportunities to make a life for themselves, feel empowered both socially and financially and more than ever, an increase in income and life chances will reduce the anger and exclusion that they may feel.
Some of these fears need to be addressed and quick. And many of them are not based on facts and to legitimise perceptions is not helpful, nor constructive. I personally think that it is important to respect the views of people whether I agree with them or not, though it is a duty on us all to engage and inform those who are disaffected. Our country needs sanity in politics, less of the emotional and more of the factual, less of the knee jerk and more of the well researched (political positions). So may I ask that as we move towards an election, that race does not become a major topic as it seems to have done in the last 2 elections.
Rational politics – yes! Irrational debates – no!