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Baroness Warsi’s speech to the Non-Wovens Network

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INTRODUCTION

It’s great to be here today.

I have a personal link with this event.

I hail from Dewsbury – a Victorian textile town…

Leeds University – to whom you are closely linked – is my former uni…

The family business that I’m privileged to be a part of is a furniture manufacturer …

And, above all, I am a great believer in innovation in industry.

And that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.

As the fastest growing sector of the textile industry, you demonstrate the power of innovation and reinvention.

You show that an industry of the past can have a strong, dynamic future…

…that tradition is not incompatible with innovation.

Today there are many other industries that could take heed from your example.

NONWOVENS

I have to say, at the weekly diary meetings in my office this opportunity to give a speech to the Nonwovens Network raised a few eyebrows.

A lot of questions were asked about what you do. I was even told it was probably going to be a boring conference.

What people don’t realise is that nonwovens are woven through our lives.

They’re part and parcel of the modern world.

Under the carpet we walk on, on the chairs we sit on, in the face wipes we use, the dusters we clean with.

Indeed, the fabric of society!

Personally I am more familiar with the woven side of the textile industry.

Whether it be the spinning and weaving mills my father came to work in during the 1960s…

…or the materials used in our bed manufacturing business many years later.

But here’s why I believe your industry is such a crucial one.

It shows the importance of tradition and modernisation in manufacturing.

TEXTILE DECLINE

But let’s look for a moment at the story of which you are a part.

Read more

Remembering the dead of Srebrenica

Published in the Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 12th July 2012

By Baroness Warsi

Earlier this year I stood in the middle of a beautiful, quiet valley in rural Bosnia-Herzegovina. As I do every time I stand there, I asked myself: how could somewhere so peaceful be the site of Europe’s worst atrocity since the Second World War?

That spot in the Drina Valley is the town of Srebrenica, the place where – 17 years ago to the day – eight thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys were rounded up and murdered by Ratko Mladic’s Serb troops. Those hills are the place they fled their attackers. The nearby factory is where they sought shelter, and where they met their end.

Today, dignitaries and victims’ families will once again gather in that valley to remember those who died. 520 newly identified victims of one of Europe’s worst massacres will be buried there. The anniversary also gives the wider world a chance to reflect upon the genocide committed in Srebrenica, and our duty to the people of this town.

Our first duty is to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Seventeen years ago today, Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb leader, said to the TV cameras: “Here we are, on July 11, 1995, in Serbian Srebrenica, just before a great Serb holy day.” Seventeen years later he is on trial in The Hague, facing 11 charges: of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. As the Foreign Secretary said in the Hague on Monday: “The lesson of the last two decades is that if you commit war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide, you will not be able to rest easily in your bed: the reach of international justice is long and patient, and once set in train, it is inexorable.” There is no expiry date for these crimes, so that even, if like Ratko Mladic, you succeed in evading justice for 16 years, you will eventually be brought to account.

Our second duty is to condemn those who deny the massacre. In 2007, the International Court of Justice ruled that the atrocities carried out by Mladic’s forces constituted genocide. The act was committed with virtual impunity in front of the eyes of the very international community that was there to prevent it, but did not. It failed to act in Srebrenica, as it had failed in Rwanda 12 months earlier. There cannot be true reconciliation until the fact of the slaughter is accepted by all.

Third, we must encourage communities together. Inter-ethnic tensions are stifling regeneration and reconciliation. What Srebrenica needs is leadership in the interests of all its citizens, whatever their ethnicity. It’s a challenge that inspired me to set up a social action venture, Project Maja, in Bosnia three years ago. The sight of Serb and Bosniak volunteers cooperating to create a new IT suite in the local high school shows that the process of regeneration was as important as the outcome, and it was good to return again earlier this year with another project.

Above all, the world’s primary duty is to remember what happened in that Bosnian enclave 17 years ago. That’s why the British Government has supported the establishment of the memorial complex in Srebrenica, contributed to public infrastructure renewal, and supported the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) in its work to identify the remains of those that are still missing.

Of course, the greatest reason for remembering is to ensure the world never lets it happen again. What happened in Bosnia-Herzegovina has shaped events across the world today. I, like many, still carry the guilt. Only last year the UK was faced with a decision whether to act against Colonel Gaddafi as he threatened to massacre his own people in Benghazi. As I sat around the Cabinet table, I thought of Srebrenica.

So as mourners come together today, I hope that we can all renew our commitment to the town and its people so that, one day, Srebrenica will no longer be synonymous with war, murder and suffering, but with optimism, prosperity and hope.

Sayeeda Warsi: Con Home Conference 2012 briefing

Published on Conservative Home, Monday 9th July 2012 by Tim Montgomerie

Symphony Hall

Last year Conservative Home noted that party conference was not what it was. It has become expensive and corporate. We take our hats off to the co-chairmen, Sayeeda Warsi and Andrew Feldman for their efforts to address this. We’ve already reported the early bird discounts that were introduced this year to cut the costs of attending this year’s Birmingham event if people booked well in advance. Many of the discounts of that programme are still available.

 Sayeeda Warsi is going to be making a sustained effort over the summer to further promote attendance at conference and especially the multiple accommodation and transport discounts. She aims to place a phone call with every Tory Association Chairman (she might not connect with all of them!) to promote the idea that every party member is entitled to attend conference. She is worried that there are still many members who are unaware of rules changes from some years ago and still think that only Association officers can attend. Baroness Warsi will also be using the calls to urge Associations to maintain campaigning efforts. With police commissioner elections looming this is a summer that we have to maintain momentum, she will say.

The third thing that is changing is the introduction of more member-only events at this year’s Birmingham conference. The Prime Minister introduces the idea in the video below…

  • There’ll be a private meeting with Lord Feldman and Baroness Warsi discussing ‘the road to 2015’;
  • An intimate gathering with Oliver Letwin and ministers will discuss the Tory manifesto for the next general election;
  • Stephen Gilbert, the party’s chief campaigner, will give members a preview of campaign tactics.

It may be a work-in-progress. Decline in conference participation won’t be reversed in a single year but It is good to see that there’ll be more meaty politics this October. Book now and book here!

Conservative Future Meet the Chairmen

Today, Baroness Warsi hosted a packed out Meet the Chairmen event for members of Conservative Future.

The meeting – during which members are offered a closed session with the Party Chairmen with all questions answered – was held at CCHQ. It was chaired by Andrew Stephenson MP. 

Sayeeda Warsi: My View: Their legacy is our liberty

Published in The Sun, myView : Their legacy is our liberty

By Sayeeda Warsi

ARMED Forces Day isn’t just about Britain’s service personnel.

It’s a day which is relevant to every single Briton.

The sacrifices of the Army, Navy and Air Force – past and present, at home and abroad – impact on all of us.

Today I will be thinking of my grandfathers, who fought in the Royal Sappers and Miners Regiment and were stationed in Burma and Aden, as well as the millions who fought in the Second World War.

Their legacy is our liberty.

And I will be thinking of our troops out in Afghanistan and their families and friends waiting anxiously at home.

They are creating a safer, more stable future.

I am proud to co-chair a party and serve in a government that recognises the forces’ bravery.

That’s why we doubled soldiers’ operational allowance.

It’s why we are rebuilding the military covenant.

And it’s why we’re determined to give servicemen and women the dignity they deserve.

So let’s make this a day when we think about the daily sacrifice made by our brave men and women.

And let’s fly the Union Jack in honour of our courageous, steadfast, professional, inspirational troops.

They truly are the best of British.

Guardian Comment is Free: Forced marriage has always been a crime in spirit

David Cameron is right to criminalise forced marriage. This abominable, inhumane act robs people of their lives

By Sayeeda Warsi published onFriday 8 June 2012 on guardian.co.uk

In deciding to criminalise forced marriage – the act of coercing a person to marry against their will – the government has made a bold statement: that this heinous, inhumane, oppressive act is never acceptable. The decision couldn’t come soon enough. The government’s forced marriage unit (FMU) provided advice or support in almost 1,500 cases last year, but the true picture is thought to be even graver.

One study in 2009 estimated that up to 8,000 women and men, girls and boys could be entering into unwilling unions each year, often being torn from their lives in Britain to live in an unknown land with an unknown spouse.

Shockingly, a third of victims assisted by the FMU last year were minors – schoolchildren who suddenly became spouses either here or abroad – the youngest reported case is thought to have been just five years old.

We must be clear. This is not like arranged marriage, where two parties consent. In forced marriage, to resist betrothal is to risk ostracism, abuse and even murder.

Currently, the law does not go far enough. Forced marriage protection orders were introduced in 2008, but breaching an order is only a breach of civil law. The message this sends out is a dangerous one: it says that Britain equates this enforced matrimony with mere civil misdemeanours. Read more

Sayeeda Warsi: Evening Standard Interview

Published in the Evening Standard, Friday 18th May 2012  by Joe Murphy

Baroness Warsi: Father asked me ‘why be a leader if you don’t take the lead?’

Baroness Warsi may be a Cabinet minister with all the finely-honed minds of the civil service to call upon, but sometimes the adviser she trusts most is simply her dad.

So it was when the horrific details of the Rochdale sexual grooming scandal poured out in a shocking court case this month.

Five white girls, aged 13 to 15, were plied with alcohol, food and money and subjected to multiple sex attacks. The guilty men were Muslims of mainly Pakistani origin, some regarded as pillars of their community.

Shortly after nine men were convicted, Lady Warsi sat down to dinner at her parents’ house and her father asked what the Government was going to do about it. She did not know. The baroness recalled: “Dad then said, ‘Well, what are you doing about it?’ I said, ‘Oh, it’s not me, it’s a Home Office issue’.” At this her father, Safdar, gave her a remarkable lecture.

“He said to me: ‘Sayeeda, what is the point in being in a position of leadership if you don’t lead on issues that are so fundamental? This is so stomach churningly sick that you should have been out there condemning it as loudly as you could. Uniquely, you are in a position to show leadership on this.’

“I thought to myself, he’s absolutely right.” Today she has decided to use an interview with the Evening Standard to do as her father advised.

Read more

Sayeeda Warsi: Liz Green One on One BBC Radio Leeds

Today, Baroness Warsi joined BBC Radio Leeds presenter Liz Green  for her show, One on One. The programme, a series of interviews with famous faces from Yorkshire, allows guests to share their experiences and play some of their favourite music.Catch up with the show here.

Sayeeda Warsi
 

Launch of the Conservative Friends of India

Baroness Warsi joined the Prime Minister, Lord Feldman and Lord Dolar Popat to celebrate the Launch of the Conservative Friends of India.

 

Conservative Friends of India (CF India) is a new member-led organisation that will help to develop links and a meaningful relationship between the Conservative Party, the British Indian community and India. Our aim is to champion the culture, successes and values of British Indians and strongly advocate closer relations between India and Britain.

Chairman visits Crawley ahead of local elections

Today, Sayeeda made a visit to Crawley to support the work of Conservatives in the area ahead of the local elections.

Joined by Crawley Chairman Liam Marshall-Ascough, Sayeeda met with community members and businesspeople at Broadfield Barton.

She was welcomed by Conservative candidate for Broadfield South Cllr Lee Gilroy before taking questions from the group and meeting with local media.