Tory Leadership: Who Will Rescue Britain? | Georgio Konstandi

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Now that parliamentary season has at long last come to a close, the inevitable question of who will take charge of the Conservative Party once Theresa May (presumably/hopefully) steps down is on the tips of our tongues. Someone, undoubtedly, needs to revive the ailing Party.

But who?

A succession of polls directed at Tory members have revealed that loyal Conservatives believe life-long Brexiteer and Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis, is the man who can do the job. However, as a member of the Party myself, I wonder, is a sixty eight year-old politician the right answer to the Conservatives’ woes? Can Mr. Davis really provide the fresh face the Party needs and save Britain from the clutches of Socialism?

If we were to peer at the goings-on of the Leader of the Opposition, it would appear that, remarkably, a sixty eight year-old politician can indeed connect with the wider electorate. Mr. Corbyn succeeded during his 2017 electoral campaign in engaging with a significant cohort of young, middle-class students, yearning for a hard-left voice. Young champagne socialists aside, he also went on to connect with over forty percent of the popular vote. Whether or not his blatant lie on scrapping university fees will damage his popularity in the next election remains to be seen.

Given the success of Labour’s leader, one must consider to which demographic Mr. Davis, should he be elected, could appeal. The answer to this becomes increasingly obvious when his background is taken into account. Born and raised on a council estate to a single mother, Mr. Davis’ disadvantaged upbringing is a stark contrast to the middle-class, privately-educated Leader of the Opposition. As Labour’s hard-left fails to convince the working classes, (the Conservatives outperformed Labour in the C2DE cohort, in June 2017), David Davis has every chance, should he present the case for Capitalism and austerity effectively, of exploiting Mr. Corbyn’s proletarian facade, in a manner that Theresa May failed to do so during her campaign.

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However, in spite of his attributes as both a campaigner and a genuine, working-class politician, the question of age remains a sensitive one for a Davis-led Conservative Party. It’s an elephant in the room that will eventually become inescapable for the Opposition, also. With the laws of nature being what they are, ageing leaders have a short career-span, regardless of their passion or drive. Leading a Party and a government is arguably the most demanding job in any democratic institution. Countless satire, jokes and jibes are directed at world leaders who undergo a seemingly rapid physical deterioration once arriving to power. There is no escaping it: old leaders cannot stick it out for the long term. It isn’t fair on them, nor their country,

The good news for Davis-supporting Conservatives, is that Jeremy Corbyn is of an equal age. Whether his champagne socialists like it or not, he too will have to step down as leader in the next decade, to allow for a younger pair of hands to take hold of the reigns. Perhaps, therefore, David Davis is a credible, short-term solution for his Party and could harness an alienated, Brexiteer working class in the next general election, staving off the danger of a socialist Britain. Beyond that, however, the Tories need a long-term plan: a young, dark horse, with the drive and tenacity to rid Britain of the socialist wildlings that lurk in her political alleys as a self-proclaimed ‘government in waiting’. 

For those that claim, with a pessimistic wave of the hand, that there lies no such Tory talent, they should think again. Sometimes the brightest of stars don’t present themselves until the horizon has fallen black. Margaret Thatcher taught us that in 1975. There is nothing to say that the same cannot happen again.

Georgio Konstandi is a writer for Student Voices | @georgiokon
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