The Unity Candidate.
The race for Tory leadership started long before MV1, but a good contender knew that.
A good contender would recognize the importance of timing, gaining healthy momentum, moving through the ranks without appearing overly career-driven or distastefully ruthless. The right leader wouldn’t need to keep a low profile cautious they’d risk saying something stupid (again), and they wouldn’t be walking around Britain with a floating Smartphone rushing their leadership coursework.
It’s sink or swim.
This isn’t Britain’s Got Talent and the party needs saving from the ‘give it a go’ ballots. Our next leader will not have the luxury to learn on the job; our next leader will have to repair the Conservative Party, deliver Brexit and win a General Election with a mandate. Our opposition are economically incompetent and idealistically dangerous, and in the face of that we’re bobbing along without an engine, propeller or a rudder.
Members in and outside Westminster have been playing fantasy cabinet since Theresa May took to the podium outside No.10 back in 2016; the game was modified in 2017 to include new leadership. They knew this was a sacrificial post, even if she herself, didn’t. At each and every Tory event over the past year, the membership have been posing the question, who? And you’d expect to be personally judged on your answer as tribal Brexit politics ruled the land.
I’d comfortably put my support in Sajid when he was still secretary of state for Housing. Comfortably because Saijd was the change I wanted to see in the party.
A demographic the Conservative party struggled to reach and a principal example of why we had to.
Son of Pakistani immigrants, Sajid grew up in a two bedroom flat above his parents’ shop. Fascinated with financial markets, aged 14 he borrowed £500 from a bank to buy shares. After leaving university Sajid became a very successful financier, and left his position as Managing Director of Deutsche Bank in 2009 to pursue a career in politics.
An economic liberal who believes in lower taxes and small government, Sajid isn’t another cookie cutter Tory cabinet minister and that matters. Like Thatcher, Sajid worked hard and reached for opportunities beyond his class and background. He climbed the ladder and it means something because this is who we are, he brings to the table qualities home grown politicians will never have; grit and real-world authenticity.
Beyond his poster boy image he’s made political impact by being radical and at times readily controversial. As Home Sec he defended his decision to strip jihadi bride Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, he committed £1bn to housing before moving post and without hesitation threw down the gauntlet on the Windrush scandal, and rightly so. If elected PM, he firmly ruled out a second referendum on Scottish independence and pledged an additional 20,000 police officers walking the beat.
An 11th hour remainer, Sajid pulled away from hard remain colleagues and defended the result, shooting down rumours that a no-deal Brexit would harm Britain’s security. During his Leadership pledge he announced that ‘first and foremost, we must deliver Brexit’ and his campaign is said be headed by Vote Leave Chief Executive, Matthew Elliott.
Sajid isn’t one of the hard-line beasts of Brexit but here’s where the party needs foresight; any leader can crash out of the EU with or without a deal, but then what? Can a beast reach beyond our membership and win a General Election?
Looking back on the lukewarm waters of Party leadership, the naïve mistake of being all things to all men, backfired; in an attempt to please everyone the Tories have pleased no one. A broad-church that couldn’t hold broad waters broke its banks and three Lib Dem Tories went elsewhere.
The Party needs a leader they can get behind and trust to keep them true to type but modernise the party to stay ahead on policy; the party of social mobility and fairness.
Enter Sajid Javid, the unity candidate.