Sajid Javid was on Question Time yesterday and gave easily one of the most confident and assured defences of the government’s immigration policy to date. In response to a question about British identity and the increasing popularity of the name ‘Mohammad’, Javid rebutted the notion that a name has anything to do with patriotism:
‘I think it’s pretty silly to suggest that someone’s name has some kind of bearing on their love for our country. I’m called Sajid. I’m fiercely patriotic about our country, I think it’s the greatest country on earth. And so name has nothing to do it.’
As the Conservatives’ first (and only) male cabinet minister from a Muslim background, his remarks carry more weight than some of his other colleagues trying to extoll the benefits of immigration while explaining the need for reform:
‘Immigration does have an impact on our country. As Yvette [Cooper] said, we are a stronger country I think because of immigration. I think it’s one of the things that makes us great but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to control it — and in recent years, we lost control.
‘In the last decade, we had almost two million people come to our country, which was almost equivalent to the previous forty years and that means we lost control. What we need to do is control our borders and that’s what the Prime Minister was talking about last week with respect to EU immigration — but also just as important, we need to make sure that people that do settle in our country respect our way of life and respect our country, by for example making sure they speak English. So that’s what I’d like to see.’
After listening to how confidently Javid handled the issue, it’s easy to understand why some Tories are beginning to look at him as future leadership material. Here is a politician at ease with both his background and being a Tory in modern Britain.