As the contest for Britain’s next Prime Minister nears its close, we are now down to two contestants. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
One is a British woman, the other, is a man of Indian heritage. To be honest, neither candidate inspires me.
I doubt Liz Truss would be any better than Boris Johnstone, David Cameron, Teresa May or any of the other clowns who have been running the country into the ground over the last few decades.
She is certainly no Margaret Thatcher.
I suspect, in fact, that Rishi Sunak would be more competent than Truss, though frankly, I have low expectations for either.
The one thing she has in her favour, however, is that she at least looks somewhat like me.
That may sound like an awful, shallow and exclusionary reason to want someone to rule over your nation – but it is, in fact, a universal aspiration.
Why else did so many Indians rise up and follow Gandhi? The British Raj was not perfect and there were surely invidious aspects for Indians.
Yet there were also many positives. When the Poms arrived, India was in the process of being conquered by the Muslims. Had they not shown up, Hinduism would likely be a minority religion there by now.
The British built the railway system which linked the country and provided a massive boost to the economy.
They abolished Suttee (the burning of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands) and introduced a functioning bureaucracy, postal service and much of the infrastructure of a modern-day society.
After they left the country was ripped in two (actually three) as East and West Pakistan tore away killing up to 2 million and displacing 10 to 20 million people in what is often described as one of the largest refugee crises in history.
It also led to the war of independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan which resulted in a massive death toll and the mass rape of Bangladeshi women.
I spent 9 months in India in the mid-1980s and there was little sign of progress since the Brits had left.
So why was independence so popular and why does no one express regret to this day?
The short answer is that it is a universal aspiration to want to be ruled over by people who look like you, talk like you and share the same religion and history as you.
It doesn’t guarantee competence, integrity or even loyalty, but it is far more likely that one of your own tribe, or people, will have your best interests at heart than someone from a different group.
That is why it is such a human universal. It is why people want to live in their own nations, ruled by their own people.
It is why nationalism is such a powerful force around the world.
It is also why the Brits were thrown out of Malaysia, Uganda, Burma and everywhere else.
No one could argue that Idi Amin was better for the people of Uganda than the Poms had been – but at least he was one of them.
It showed the world that whatever else was wrong with Ugandan society, they were not a conquered people.
Just like the Indians, the Ugandans wanted a ruler who was one of their people.
So do I.
I want to be secure in the knowledge that no matter what else may be wrong with the country that we are, for all intents and purposes, still able to rule ourselves.
Is that wrong?