Narinder Singh: Liberal ‘defenders’ shouldn’t presume to speak for me on the Begum ruling

1 Mar

Narinder Singh is the Deputy Chairman of Harborough Conservatives.

Apparently, I’ve been living in fear since Friday and worried about my future in the country I call home. Not because I’ve done anything wrong, but because I’m a second-generation immigrant and I’ve been told we’re all now drowning in doubt and concern about our future place, because of the decision taken by the Supreme Court over Shamima Begum. From my own perspective and based on the conversations I’ve had with most of my friends and family, I can assure you we aren’t.

People will have their own view on the case and the ruling of the Supreme Court. I support this, as do the majority of the public from the polling I’ve seen – including some polling I remember from the time she was last in the news, broken down by ethnicity. But the main point I want to take on here is the supposed insight from enlightened commentators and Tweeters (believe they call it a “hot take”) who are invariably white, but seem to have appointed themselves as new BME spokespeople.

I don’t claim to speak for all BMEs (we aren’t a homogenous block) in the way that some of our liberal “defenders” claim to, but I’m confident in saying my view will be shared by more than will disagree with it. See, we understand that people can and will make mistakes, especially when younger. But there’s a difference between skiving school with your friends as we did (hope my parents aren’t reading) and travelling to Syria to pledge your allegiance to a death cult that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

It’s not only incorrect, but also massively insulting to try and portray us all as “scared” on the back of this, as though we’re unable to understand and appreciate the gravity of what Begum did, and just extrapolate from this ruling that we’re all at risk because of it. I think most of us, despite being regularly told we’re downtrodden victims in need of help, can gauge for ourselves the seriousness of what she did and the difference to if any one of us got a speeding ticket or drove through a red light.

Some will say she was groomed or brainwashed – an argument I do have some time for given her age – but she’s also expressed a lack of remorse in her interviews since then. ISIS have publicly said in the past they want to send their fighters back “home” to carry out attacks on foreign soil, under the guise of disillusionment with the regime as reformed characters who can be rehabilitated and integrated back into society.

With this in mind, and Begum’s clear lack of regret, the Supreme Court is right to say national security is the priority here. Who would be held responsible if she was to return, and form part of any attack that took place in this country? Not the above commentators I can assure you.

My parents were clear with us from a young age, this country will provide us with all sorts of opportunities, it’s up to us to work hard and take them. They weren’t wrong. Two of my fellow second-generation immigrants occupy two of the four great offices of state, and another held both of these offices before them, and took this initial decision (correctly).

To the self-appointed spokespeople who feel the need to speak on our behalf as though we are all of the same view, please find another charity project or pet cause to champion. We’re capable of speaking for ourselves, articulating our own concerns and can understand the severity of what Begum did, which is why this doesn’t generate fear in all of us.

This country has been exceptionally welcoming to my family and given us lots of opportunities. Yes it isn’t perfect, but I struggle to think of any other country that has been as welcoming as the UK, and where there has been as much progression to the highest offices in the land besides the US. Begum made her decision and it’s one that has no relevance or bearing on how most of us see our place in this country; please stop implying it does and stop speaking on my behalf.