As the Labour MP for Gloucester, when things were good for Parmjit Dhanda, they were very good. He would be rolled out at party conferences and for TV appearances as a poster boy for his party, a shining example of a new Britain, where white constituencies chose ethnic minorities as their candidates and elected them. He was a feel-good story, and telling the other side of the story not only would have jarred with the narrative but would also have brought to light issues that neither Dhanda nor his colleagues would be comfortable addressing.
Then something happened. As Parmjit and his family strove to put their lives back together after the 2010 general election defeat, there was a knock on the door one Sunday morning in Gloucester. A frightened-looking lady stood there shaking, distressed. She had a dog on the end of the lead that was pulling her body away towards one of the cars outside the house.
A decapitated pig’s head had been left in the middle of the drive. After nine years’ service people didn’t even realise Parmjit was actually a Sikh and not a Muslim. But prejudice doesn’t make these distinctions. After all, at school there was never a distinction between a Paki or a Wog before you felt a blow to the back of your head in the playground.
In what promises to be one of the most important political memoirs of recent years, Parmjit Dhanda speaks out for the first time about some of the uncomfortable issues in politics, in the hope it helps present a smoother path for others in the future and makes it easier for those in the game now to speak out too.