In the run up to the 2015 General Election on 7th May, we’re interviewing some of Scotland’s minority ethnic MP candidates to find out what inspires them in their political life. Our first interviewee is George Jabbour, Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for Inverclyde.
George was born in Syria. He spent the first 22 years of his life there. After graduating from Damascus University with a Civil Engineering degree, George came to Britain in 2004 to study for a Master’s degree in Finance at Imperial College London. George said: “Britain is the country with whose values and principles I identified the most”.
After Imperial, George started a career in banking and worked for Goldman Sachs. In 2009, he set up his businesses, advising governments and public sector organisations on their investments. George was named as one of the 40 under 40 rising stars in investment banking in Britain.
1. What inspired you to stand as an election candidate?
I am standing as a candidate in the General Election because I would like to positively contribute to the country which gave me a home, an education, a career, and allowed me to start a business. Having campaigned for Better Together, I am standing as a candidate in Scotland to continue fighting for the union. I chose to stand in Inverclyde because of the proud history of engineering and industry that Inverclyde enjoys – I believe that my background in engineering and finance equip me with the skills needed to bring new investments to Inverclyde. I am standing for the Conservative party because I believe in its values: individuality, independence, responsibility, hard-work, and aspiration.
2. What do you think are the main issues facing minority ethnic communities in your constituency?
Since my selection as a candidate for Inverclyde, I have been discussing with everyone in Inverclyde their concerns and worries. The issues that people have told me are important to them are now at the centre of my campaign: more local jobs and investments, tackling drug addiction and reducing knife-crime.
3. After the election, what would MPs from your party do to improve race equality in the UK?
Promoting the Conservative values of individuality, independence, responsibility, hard-work, and aspiration is the most important step needed to improve race equality. Britain’s first ethnic minority MP, Sir Mancherjee Bhownagree, was a Conservative and was election to Parliament in 1895. The first Jewish and female Prime Ministers of Britain were also Conservatives. Some politicians suggest that positive discrimination could improve race equality, but I disagree.
4. Do you have any tips for people from minority ethnic backgrounds who would like to get into politics?
My advice to people from minority ethnic backgrounds is the same as my advice to people of any background: if you want to contribute to public service, have something to offer and want to work hard, read about all the philosophies and values of the different political parties and join the one with whose values you identify the most. For me, this was the Conservative party.
CRER is a non-party political organisation. We not promote any political party or candidate. Minority ethnic candidates from all major political parties in Scotland have been approached to participate in our Election 2015 blog interview feature, and responses are presented unedited in the candidate’s own words.