Canary Wharf Group invited me along with elected Councillors of Bangladeshi origin from across the country. The event began with the question from the host: “How many Councillors are there of Bangladeshi origin?“. People were offering different guesses. I pitched in with an ambitious figure of 250. The right answer was clearly “Not enough!” as one audience member quipped. In fact, there are now 112 Councillors of Bangladeshi origin up and down the country. There are three MPs of Bangladeshi origin with Baroness Pola Uddin as the only member of the House of Lords with Bangladeshi heritage.
While the Bangladeshi community has come a long way, they are still under-represented in politics. There isn’t a high profile Bangladeshi political figure in the main political parties. In comparison, politicians with Pakistani and Indian heritage have fared better with the obvious examples being Sadiq Khan, Sajid Javid and Priti Patel (before her fall from grace). Politicians from Bangladeshi heritage need to get better at ‘politicking’ to climb up the greasy pole ensuring that they do not fall down like Priti Patel.
Back to the reception, it was indeed a nice gesture from Canary Wharf to recognise the achievements of Councillors of Bangladeshi origin. As I posted my pictures on social media, many friends commented that Canary Wharf needed to do more to empower young Bangladeshis and create career opportunities for them. This is true, because Canary Wharf is situated in Tower Hamlets with some of the most deprived areas in the country. Perhaps someone from Canary Wharf reading this blog will take note!