SO who Knew? Breaking Barriers
Shaun Bailey's position as a Downing Street adviser to UK PM David Cameron makes him the first-ever black political appointee to a prime minister from any political party. What makes us at SO even prouder are his Jamaican roots.
"My connection, to Jamaica is pretty straightforward," he shared in an exclusive interview. "My family is Jamaican." Indeed, both his grandparents and parents trace their roots to The Rock. His mum, Carmen Rose, was born in Catadupa, St James, while dad, James Bailey, was born in Montego Bay.
The well-positioned Bailey, who has Jamaica at the top of his 2013 travel list, primarily to enjoy copious amounts of his favourite food fried sweet plantains alongside ackee and saltfish, is all business though. When asked what it's like to be the first-ever, black political appointee to a British PM, he shares, " It's a great responsibility. It's important to get in right and represent our community well. We simply do not have (in the UK and Europe) enough black people in politics. David Cameron has made a commitment to do his part in turning this around, but the onus is on us as a community to get involved. So for me, it is important to perform at the highest level, to demonstrate that our community has the talent to operate at this level and that we are not just part of a quota; but that we have real value to offer."
It's no idle boast! Bailey — who was chosen as the Conservative Party candidate for Hammersmith by open primary, and narrowly lost out on an election to Parliament in 2010 in a difficult race — advises Cameron on youth and crime, working to help shape the Government agenda on those topics. Bailey, also an excellent public speaker, is a regular contributor to The Sun, The London Evening Standard, The Times, The Guardian and the Independent. He also appears on Newsnight, Question Time and Sky News.
— Additional info from Power List 2013
— Britain's Most Influential Black People