I spent a fantastic afternoon today at an Eid reunion party where our local Muslim community invited people from different walks of Brighton and Hove life to share stories and enjoy their hospitality.
I was invited to speak after the Imam and said that when I was selected as the Labour candidate for Hove and Portslade I realised I had joined a community of people brought together by a shared belief and similar values. In our case it is the belief that people can achieve more together than they can alone. Other communities are brought together by beliefs, geographies, or religions. Today was great because we could come together and see the many links there are between these communities.
Two were immediately obvious to me. The first was Sunny Chowdhury, an active member of the local Muslim community and also recently selected as Labour council candidate alongside Tom Bewick for Westbourne Ward. It's a great example of the sometimes divided worlds of politics, civil society, and religion being straddled.
Secondly was the amazing amount of local enterprise in the room. Entrepreneurial spirit is a defining characteristic of our city and it was wonderful to find myself sitting on a table with eight people who all run local businesses. Very happily I was sat next to Muhammed from Indiana Tandoori in Church Rd, my local Indian restaurant for over twelve years!
I learned a lot from listening to these business people, particularly about the challenges they face in our complex local economy. It was also fascinating for me to hear them talk about the different aspirations their children have compared to their own - something parents from every walk of life would sympathise with.
Since getting home from this lovely afternoon of eating Indian food and meeting fascinating people in the warm indoors I've faced lots of taunts from activists who were bracing the elements outside to campaign for me all day...to those people can I say thank you from the bottom of my heart...and if we win the election here next May I'll treat you all to a curry at Indiana!
All the best, Peter