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In both Hodge Hill and Leicester South there are strong Asian communities, and this factor had contributed highly to the outcome of these results. In 2001, there was an outburst of racial hatred and the formation of Islamaphobia due to terrorist attacks in America. The Muslims especially, from the Asian community felt victimized due to examples such as racist comments about appearance and the fact that they were literally made to feel inferior to non-Muslims increased the hatred for Tony Blair and he had an elaborate ally with Bush.

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Also, in 2003/4 there was another foreign issue of injustice to the Muslims and other parts of the Asian community, as America and the UK decided to call a war in Iraq, which a couple of months later proved to have been an error due to a mistake in the intelligence reports. Tony Blair, even after knowing that he had made an error, he refused to apologise and more so, he did not correct his mistakes. Issues such as these can affect the vote either from the whole electorate, but more so from the Asian community.

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If the Asian vote is indeed turning away from Labour in both Hodge Hill and in Leicester South, then in a way this can most definitely reflect the way Asian are going to vote in other societies to. The reason for this is because the Asian population have become politicized by 9/11, Islamaphobia and the war in Iraq and these issues have raised an awareness to both the whole electorate and the ethnic minorities if we can still be able to ‘trust’ our Prime Minister. Also, these issues affect Asylum Seekers. They may feel that their voice is not being heard and hence they can vote in either by elections or general elections to have their say.

The Black community can also protest against the government because of issues such as racism and prejudice against them. In the General Election on a whole, there is a general pattern of low turnout across the country. In Local and European elections the turnout is about 25% and in general Election it is slightly higher, at about 45%. If a government is not functioning to the needs of the public, then the public can protest by voting for other parties in Local elections, and again we are bought back to the Hodge Hill and Leicester South by elections, where the majority of people voted for the Liberal Democrats and less voted for New Labour.

To increase the number of votes for any kind of election, the government introduced new means of how people could vote; such examples included postal voting and e-voting (via internet). However, with postal voting the government realised that there was a lot of influence inside the home. A typical example could include a husband persuading or merely forcing his wife to vote for his friend who is applying for a position as a local councillor. This domineering influence can also take place in the workplace, where men and women both work together.

Statistically, it is said that women have a tendency to live longer and this could also mean that they have lived through many general elections and have a different view on who to vote for as they might have experienced the good and the bad times of certain governments. Also, this may have distanced them from the influence of the males. With the Asian community, there seems to be more Hindu women taking up a higher education degree than Muslim women.

This means that Hindu women generally will have more ‘middle class’ thinking than the Muslim women, which makes them think about voting for the Conservatives, rather than Labour, who are historically known for supporting the working class. Women, in both the Asian community have become politicised by the recent foreign affairs. In 1997, Tony Blair attracted a lot of women, and also encouraged them to become MP’s, this way he managed to get a lot of votes, however in 2003/2004 women have changed their way of thinking about Tony Blair.

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Kylie Garcia

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