African-origin politicians step into the breach.

Author:Goodwin, Clayton
Position:LETTER FROM LONDON
 
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In the wake of the stalled Brexit, British politics has been turned virtually upside down. Prime Minister May is gone and the traditional big parties--Labour and Conservative --have been given body blows in the recent EU elections. Into this shifting environment, young African-origin politicians are emerging as some of the sanest voices.

Africans are finding a way to make their influence felt beyond the fragmented parameters of traditional British politics. I was reminded of this when my wife said "I feel that this has got nothing to do with me" as we walked to the polling station to cast our votes in the recent European Parliamentary elections.

Since arriving here from her Jamaican homeland as a schoolgirl, she has invested a lifetime in Britain, but with the Conservative Party shattered and Labour seemingly unable to decide which way to turn, this electoral battle was fought out by the newly-founded Brexit Party and the Liberal Democrats, neither of whom are known for the number of Black people within their ranks.

To add a theatrical touch to the tragedy, Theresa May resigned as Prime Minister between the casting and the counting of the ballots. At the steps of Downing Street, 'tearful Theresa' cried for herself but not for the victims of her 'hostile environment' immigration policy.

Even now several thousand European Union citizens were denied their right to vote in this election. The error was blamed on administrative malfunction. That, although probably true, sounded a touch hypocritical coming from those who would blame as 'malpractice' any similar electoral shortcoming in an African country.

James Cleverly, whose mother came from Sierra Leone, and Samuel Gyimah of Ghanaian heritage and Oxford University education, one of the few top Tories to advocate holding a second referendum on EU membership, are among the dozen-and-more MPs who have flirted with the idea of challenging for the Conservative Party leadership but any appeal they may have would need to lie in the years ahead.

The young African connection Magid Magid, an unusual politician by any standards, sporting the T-shirt slogan 'immigrants make Britain great', shone in the European elections by winning a seat for the Green Party in the Yorkshire and Humberside region. Born in Somalia, this former child refugee, whose mother worked as a cleaner, has crammed a lot into his 29 years. He has been mountaineering, having climbed Kilimanjaro, run marathons for charity--once dressed...

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