Regular(ish) commentator Educated Outside Hackney points out that I’ve been a bit irregular of late so here goes first one in a while…

Sad news about the death of Piara Khabra yesterday. I had heard that he was on the mend a couple of weeks ago when I caught up with his assistant Julian… but then draining an absess is pretty serious stuff. Khabra was the oldest serving MP although not Father of the House as he was elected for Ealing Southall in 1992 and that title goes to the longest in post. I remember interviewing him for a book chapter I did about 10 years ago in a collection on what a Blair government will look like. He was an urbane softly spoken champion of party policy who seemed out of synch with the thrusting 97 intake including the many Blair’s babes who’d entered the ranks of the Commons. My resultant chapter on the place of the subcontinental diaspora in New Britain was called “Currying Favour?” and then there was a serious bit after a colon – can’t remember what exactly. It probed the relationship between New Labour and the Asian community. The conclusion was something about the dangers of Asians “being taken for granted” by Labour. Not sure how prophetic it was exactly. Results have been mixed – voters in Bethnal Green and Bow were seduced by the charms of George Galloway whereas the electorate of Ealing Southall have stuck by Labour solidly. Khabra as a consensual figure played a large part in keeping them on side. He will be sadly missed.

Advertisements