So Much More Than Brexit
At a time when Britain has never been so divided, one wonders what on earth Boris Johnson’s team was thinking when they came up with their ‘let’s slap the less privileged in the face and help the rich get richer’ tax cuts. For that, in essence is what it is – helping the rich get richer and widening an already vicious divide between the haves and the have-nots. The Conservative Party Leadership election must be about so much more than Brexit; and none more so than that of uniting a nation.
As some of you know, I’ve always rather liked Boris. In the words of my dear friend Gboyega, with whom I’ve been having a running argument with regards to Brexit for the better part of the past twelve months, “Boris is an eccentric, and will usually do whatever he wants to do, regardless of what others think“. And that is precisely why I’ve always liked the man. He is never politically correct and will always say it as it is. The kind of chap you’d enjoy having a pint with. Indeed, the kind of political leader the nation so desperately needs. If, like me, you’re sick and tired of political correctness and the general fear of speaking one’s mind then I’m sure you agree with me when I say we need more leaders of his ilk.
However, at a time when Britain is so terribly divided, I find myself asking a question I would not have thought possible a few months ago.
Is Boris the right person to lead at this time?
The Tory leadership election is about far more than Brexit. Yes, Brexit is vitally important, and the quicker we see the back of what has been a painfully embarrassing debacle the better. But there are other matters to consider.
1. The Unity of the Tory party
A Conservative party in disarray, and that is exactly the state it will be in if the nation gets a Tory leader who bends to the whims of right wing elements, would enable the Brexit party to not only gain too much ground, but, heaven forbid, actually replace it as the other viable party!
A few weeks back, Boris made clear his intention for Britain to leave the EU with ‘no-deal if necessary’. Does he really think Tory moderates will simply sit-by and watch as he does that?? Judging by their present mood, they will not only oppose such a move with every weapon and ploy in their armoury, but also join hands with opposition parties in calling for a no-confidence vote. Once that happens, the likelihood of a snap general election comes into play, possibly leading to a fatal demise of the party altogether. And whether there’s a general election before or immediately after a no-deal Brexit is irrelevant. As another leadership contender Jeremy Hunt recently stated, and this by no means implies I’m backing him (I’m simply urging us all to take a deep breath and think a little more laterally) – “Without a deal, any prime minister who promised to leave by a certain date would have to call a general election to change the parliamentary arithmetic. And that is an election we would lose badly. If we fight the election before delivering Brexit we will be annihilated. Squeezed by the Brexit Party on the right and the Lib Dems on the left.” – Common sense.
2. Uniting the Nation
I’m hoping the conservative party members who will be voting during the next few days are thinking beyond Brexit. To do otherwise would not only result in the demise of the Tory party as we know it (whatever you and I may think of the Tories, they are still a far better option than the Brexit Party), but also lead to a painfully more divided society. It is of paramount importance that the next Tory leader is an individual who carries the desire, clout, integrity and wherewithal to unite an already fractured society. If we want Britain to be great again then we must be united in both desire and direction.
Healthcare, Education, Housing – is anyone thinking about these key pillars of society? For over three years we’ve heard nothing but Brexit, Brexit, Brexit’s sister, and Brexit’s prodigal son!
At this juncture, we must all consider the state of the National Health Service and the Education system. Hospital waiting lists are increasing by the second (according to the Telegraph, more than 4.2 million patients are now on waiting lists for surgery – a 55% rise in five years), standards are declining, and more and more children are getting left behind, giving them next to zero chance of fulfilling their potential.
Unfortunately, you and I have absolutely no power at this point in time. It is not up to us to decide who the next Tory leader and by default, Prime Minister will be. And regardless of our party affiliations or ideologies the reality is that this particular leadership contest will most likely determine the fate of this great nation for decades to come.
So, whatever our view, let’s keep this in mind;
This is no longer just about Brexit. It is about so much more – Unity, Education, Housing, Social Mobility, Peace, Diversity, and Equality. The very soul of the nation is at stake.
Is Boris the right person to steer the nation through the challenges ahead?
Taking into consideration his excellent tenure as London’s mayor, during which he reduced crime, significantly improved transport, and fostered a city of so many different cultures, faiths and creeds into one of unity, peace, and for the most part joy, both my heart and head are aligned with the Back Boris campaign.
My only concern, and it is a very real, present, and significant one, is that he may yield to the demands of right wing elements within his party.
But as a friend of mine pointed out yesterday, ‘one never knows who the Conservative Party leadership election may conjure-up. After-all, had anyone heard of a certain Margaret Thatcher in 1975?? As a rank outsider, she contested against a prime minister nobody else dared to oppose, won the first poll by 11, resulting in the resignation of the incumbent PM, and despite the emergence of several other contenders went on to win.’