Jasneet Samrai: We need to work together and respect each-other

Following a series of tweets in which Jasneet Samrai shared that she had joined the Conservative Party, and received a significant degree of ridicule for doing so, Mallard editor Jake Scott spoke to her about her experience.

You recently tweeted that you joined the Tory Party and, following this, you had a falling out with your friends in the Liberal Democrats; do you want to just tell us about that?

So obviously politics is incredibly tribal/polarised at the moment, being a member of any party is almost this one-dimensional world view where everyone else who doesn’t agree with you is, and I quote, ‘inherently wrong’ in some way.

While that doesn’t justify it, yes I did have some friends who have fallen out with me/cut me off. Being a Tory carries a stigma, it shouldn’t do, but it does. People need to learn that party affiliation doesn’t change who you are as a person, at the end of the day I still have the same values.

That’s interesting that you say you have the same values; what are these values you hold, and why do you think the Tory party is better placed to represent them?

So I’ve always been an economic liberal, there’s a huge economic liberal caucus within the Liberal Democrats but unfortunately in recent years, the party has shifted away from it. Moreover, I’ve always been a Brexiteer and obviously the Liberal Democrats are intrinsically a Pro-Remain party.

That’s interesting; why are you in favour of leaving the EU?

There are a few reasons, but mainly it’s due to the democratic deficit that the EU, as an institution, has. I also think that we need to have a fairer immigration system and now that we’ve had a referendum, to respect that outcome.

I’m writing a more in-depth piece on this which will be released shortly, but I’m from a working-class leave area. The Tories are the only party that are currently representing both me and them.

Thank you; obviously young people are typically thought of as being in favour of Remaining so that’s very interesting. Going back to the backlash you received over joining the party, do you think this is typical of young people in politics at the moment?

That’s a complex question and I think partly. I don’t think it’s typical of all young people involved in politics, but it’s definitely typical of some of the circles that I was in previously. I can only talk by experience and I’ve had a fair few incidents now.

Why are young people so hostile towards the Tories?

I think that it stems from a false perception of what ‘being a Tory’ is. We’re viewed as being far-right, hating democracy and being hugely in favour of austerity, so much so that we’re willing to damage people’s livelihoods. But that isn’t the case at all.

So what, to you, do the Tories stand for?

Meritocracy, a smaller state and ensuring that Brexit happens- all of which are key values of mine.

Focusing more on your own experiences, why do you think someone threaten to leak details about your personal life over your choice of political affiliation?

So firstly, I think part of it is because it’s me. I’m someone who was relatively senior in the party that I’m from and as a result I was expected to tell a certain line. And I didn’t most the time, so I wasn’t the most ‘well-liked’ person. This isn’t the first time somebody has threatened to leak things about me, I’m just tired of it to be honest.

I also think the reason that it occurred in this particular incident was because the person was hurt. They were incredibly anti-Tory and I honestly think they saw it as some kind of huge ‘betrayal.’

You state that you are a feminist and a Tory; do you see any contradiction between the two?

Not at all, I think there are multiple ways to be a feminist and I’ve watched lots of feminists within the Tory party prosper and campaign for some amazing causes- whether it’s pushing for gender neutral uniform, equal representation in the Commons or sanitary products on trains, I really look up to them.

So you think that the party has moved on from the days of Thatcher with regards to sex equality?

Yes, definitely. That’s apparent throughout some of legislation that’s been passed over the last 9 years of Tory government.

Do you think there’s a lot of social reform to be proud of in those last nine years then?

Yes, I do. And I know that’s controversial, and I know that I don’t agree with everything- but I do think that overall we are a better country because of it.

What are your hopes for politics in Britain in the future?

Just to become kinder, less polarised and more inclusive. We need to work together and respect each-other. We can do that by being more open. By saying what we really think and being honest with ourselves.

It’s why I joined the Tories.

 

Jasneet Samrai has recently joined the Conservative Party from the Liberal Democrats, where she was a senior regional activist and campaign organiser.

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