Brown started by interviewing Shahmir Sanni, a campaigner and whistle-blower. Pakistani-born Sanni volunteered on the Vote Leave campaign after graduating. Having grown up in Karachi with a very different idea of what politics was, Sanni says he thought “politics was just and safe in Britain.” He acknowledged his naivety, revealing that he was intrigued by the possibilities the Vote Leave campaign offered, particularly since he felt there was a lot of Euroscepticism within the BAME community.
It was only once he was embedded in the team that Sunni realised the organisation was circumventing spending laws and, he said, arguably committing one of the largest instances of electoral fraud this country has ever seen. He turned whistle-blower. But, having thought he would be listened to and respected, he revealed that the government worked with the media to silence him; “it is inherently British to use the media to silence dissent,” he explained.
At the time, Sunni had not come out to his family; but as he explained the Vote Leave press release orchestrated by Dominic Cummings effectively outed him. It was, he said, a horrendous moment on many levels but predominantly, he explained, “for me, what was more important was my agency being taken away.” He believes that across the world, there is a “desensitisation of white communities to brown lives.”
He urged allies to dig further into research and to educate themselves as broadly as possible and then use that education to inform those around them’ particularly family members who may hold different views. Sunni advised people not to move to anger but rather embrace the fact that “your role becomes to stop these relatives from being radicalised to the other side.”