Our latest Election 2015 blog interview features Sanjoy Sen, Scottish Conservative Candidate for Aberdeen North, who was inspired to stand for election after the Referendum campaign.
Sanjoy is a chemical engineer and currently a self-employed consultant specialising in the oil and gas sectors. He got involved in politics after the referendum campaign.
1) What inspired you to stand as an election candidate?
Like many people in Scotland, I was energised by the independence referendum. Scotland voted No, but clearly wants further devolved powers. I joined the Scottish Conservative party after the referendum because I felt they were the only party willing and able to do that. I had no previous experience in politics – instead I was a North Sea oil engineer living in Aberdeen since 2000. I believe we have too many ‘career politicians’ and that we need more people with real life experience in parliament.
2) What do you think are the main issues facing minority ethnic communities in your constituency?
A key barrier to integration in the UK is language skills. Proficiency in English opens doors to employment, leads to engagement with everyone is society and breaks down misunderstandings and prejudices. I have worked abroad and I know it is difficult, but it is worth it. For example, I enjoyed life in both Holland and Italy. People were extremely friendly in both countries but because I learned to speak Italian but not Dutch I found it much easier to relate to people in Italy than I did in Holland.
3) After the election, what would MPs from your party do to improve race equality in the UK?
The UK is a country with huge opportunities people who study hard, work hard and respect the law. There are people who have arrived in this country with nothing and have overcome challenges to make hugely successful lives for themselves. What we need is for people to look beyond the negativity of a few (and the occasional unhelpful newspaper headline) and to seize these opportunities.
4) Do you have any tips for people from minority ethnic backgrounds who would like to get into politics?
My key tip would be not to see yourself as an outsider. If you believe you have something to offer everyone in your constituencies, they go for it.
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.