Will ethnic vote be a deciding factor in UK elections?
With more than 2 months to go to one of the most closely fought election in Britain for decades it seems this time that many candidates fate will hang on the ethnic vote in more than 27 constituencies in the UK.
So far none of the political parties have done anything to address issues affecting the UK ethnic vote, instead they are infuriating them by constantly focusing on the immigration issue (as they do in past elections) to appeal to the UKIP supporters to arrest their advance amongst white suburban voters. However, better understanding the migrant voter base and speaking to their interests and concerns will better place politicians placed to support the longer-term integration of those who have chosen to make the UK their home.
UK political parties still can’t distinguish between the EU immigration issue and the rapidly growing and powerful multicultural voters in London and major UK cities and their needs.
It is not surprising to see Immigration at the heart of debate again, yet remarkably little is known about the millions of migrant voters who will be eligible to cast a vote. Political parties has not learned from the rising Hispanic voting patterns in the US which was instrumental in putting Obama back in office again despite the fact that the ethnic voters had more values in common with the Republicans who were seen to back anti immigration rhetoric, a stance that may drive English expats to behave in the same way if faced by anti-immigration sentiment in places like Australia, US, France, Dubai & Spain.
A recent estimates place the number of first-generation migrants in England and Wales who will be able to cast a vote in May at around 4 millions. Migrant voters could comprise nearly 10% of the British electorate and more influential than UKIP supporters as highly concentrated, meaning that migrant votes could determine the fate of a number of prospective parliamentary candidates across the UK. 2015 looks likely to be the first election where two parliamentary seats (East Ham and Brent North) are fought with majority migrant electorates. Migrant voters could have an impact on a number of seats in London & outside the capital. This includes at least 70 marginal seats across the country
Of course, we don’t yet know which way they will vote. This is not something that is easy to predict among a diverse group which ranges from migrants who arrived 50 years ago to those who have recently settled in the UK, and includes City traders, university students, refugees and domestic workers.
Migrants of Commonwealth origin will make up the lion’s share of voters in the general election. The high number of Indians, Pakistanis, Nigerians and South Africans able to vote reflects the UK’s continued relationships with these countries,
In addition, the evidence suggests that many migrant voters are united by a more positive stance towards immigration and ethnic diversity. Promises from politicians to curtail the rights of migrants to family reunification, employment, study opportunities or humanitarian protection here do not resonate well among first-generation migrants.