Many people have been quick to praise the diversity of the Conservative Party candidates vying to replace Boris Johnson. An unprecedented number of black and brown candidates came to the fore.
The significant number of Candidates of Asian background was easily noticeable: Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Nadhim Zahawi, Suella Braverman, and Priti Patel. Only Sunak made it to the top two, a historic feat of its own. Kemi Badenoch, the only black candidate in the race, had an expectedly good finish – third place.
Many commentators, including the mainstream media, celebrated the unprecedented diversity. I think they are missing the point. Is the Tory Party really a diverse Party? Of the over 300 conservative MPs, how many are of minority ethnic background?. The answer is disappointing. There is no denying that Boris Johnson has appointed MPs of colour to multiple cabinet positions, a novelty itself. But at a parliamentary level and a grass root level, the Conservative Party lags behind the Labour Party by far in terms of the diversity in race, class, gender, and disability.
A further digging into the background of the Cabinet members of colour reveals that they are the classical Conservative Party politicians – wealthy, Oxbridge-educated, and connected to the City. Rish Sunak, for example, fits all into the traditional Tory Party politician profile but skin tone. He is Oxford educated and is the founding partner of an investment firm, not to mention being married to the daughter of an Indian billionaire. It is not hard to figure out that any Conservative Party candidate of colour, who overcame race barrier, had also overcame the class barrier too. How many of us can really do that?