Hall of Fame: Baroness Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi is Minister without Portfolio & Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party.  Seldom without an opinion, Baroness Warsi is a regular on BBC1 Question Time, however, Baroness Warsi also divides opinion especially amongst the media and Muslims.  Politics aside, there is no doubt that Baroness Warsi is a high achieving ambitious woman and here, we hope to shed a little more [interesting] light on her:

Ethnic minorities are traditionally seen to favour Labour, why did you decide to run for the Conservatives?

Because of the values the party represents. Everything from a strong state, the Big Society, the lack of interference in people’s lives, support for enterprise and opportunity, the concept of a hand up rather than a hand out. It was and is the way I live my life – that’s why I joined this party.

You have helped raise the serious issue of forced marriage, are there other taboo culture specific issues that you feel should be brought into the open? 

I think I’ve already raised more issues like this. I’ve done a lot on faith in politics since we’ve been in office – something that was traditionally a political taboo. I think if you’re not willing to tackle the tough issues you probably shouldn’t be in politics.

You have openly supported faith schools and Richard Dawkins is famous for his dislike of them and in particular of Muslim faith schools.  Do you see his point especially with regards to creationism?

I think what’s really come through about faith schools is their ethos and discipline, and their results. You see many families who aren’t Catholic trying to get their children into a Catholic school for that reason. Look at King David High School in Birmingham, a Jewish school where half the pupils are Muslim. It’s the discipline and ethos of that school that shines through for parents who want the best for their kids.

Please describe a typical day, if that exists.

There’s no such thing! I suppose if I were going on an average day I’d be looking at about getting up at about seven – waking up to the Today programme – and then it can be anything: press briefings and interviews, government meetings, Cabinet, work in the Chairman’s Office and campaigning. Then there’s the tours I do as Chairman of the Party and the overseas trips I do as a government minister. Every day’s different. I usually end the day with some reading.

Total Politics commented on your killer heels, how high can you go?

Killer heels! [Measures shoes she currently has on in the office] well, probably about five inches.

What are you currently reading?

Two books – the [Abdul Sattar] Edhi biography A Mirror to the Blind – a transcription of over forty hours of taped recordings by Tehmina Durrani, and Andrew Marr’s A History of Modern Britain.

What do you like the most and least about yourself?

That’s a very personal question. I suppose the thing I like the most is that I can be myself – what you see is what you get. I haven’t tried to change who I am to fit in with the political world. I’m still the person that I was when I went into politics. And the worst? I think it’s the fact that I like every conversation to be genuine. But the pace of politics means you’re always having two minute conversations – short, sharp.

I read on Wikipedia that you are the second of five sisters, what was it like growing up with as many sisters as The Bennets and can you resonate with Lizzie?

(Responds immediately) Yes. Absolutely – actually a joke amongst us is that we used to call our mum Mrs Bennet. Mum would say I was never satisfied with the norm. And yes Dad and I are close – right from an early age I was the closest. He still talks to me about big decisions.

What is your motto in life?

If it’s meant to be it’ll happen.

Who would be at your fantasy dinner party? (5 guests past/present)

Nelson Mandela, the Prophet’s wife Khadija, Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, boxer Mohammed Ali

You can read more about Baroness Warsi here.

2 Comments to “Hall of Fame: Baroness Warsi”

  1. Thank you Baroness Warsi. A delightful snippet into your life.

  2. Thanks for this wonderful interview – I follow Warsi’s career with great interest as she is an inspriration to us all, even though we may not follow her politics.

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