Since David Cameron’s announcement that he would not be leading us as an independent country following the brexit vote, I haven’t been able to shift a knot in my stomach.
There have been times when he has not been my ideal leader, but ultimately he was one of the reasons I joined the Conservative Party in the first place as a Sixth Former.
I was lured to join the Conservative Party – before I was old enough to vote for them – because of a commitment to environmental issues and the promise to bring back financial control, bringing an end to unfair education funding for students. However, by far the main reason for me taking the leap from being supporter to being a member was the social action program. The Social Action program epitomised everything I believed in – communities helping themselves, working together to make a positive difference, no matter how big, and no matter how small. All the events in the past month, have been a wake up call to me, to show just how far we have moved away from these ideas as a party organisation, and how I have as an individual.
I was interested in politics because I wanted to make a difference in the world, I wanted to be more than just a spectator. I wanted to be a participator. No matter how mad some things got in my life, I was always able to see that there were people worse off than me, and that I should try and find a way that I could help them myself, or to help them to help themselves. For a while, I’ve felt like leaflet fodder, like a campaigning robot. The Brexit campaign helped me to re-realise why I got involved in politics, and I had no greater satisfaction than brexit supporters joining me to campaign for their very first time, learning their story, and them telling me how much they had enjoyed themselves that day and how they were going to join the party so they could campaign for change more.
Whoever is chosen next to lead the Conservative party needs to be more than just a Prime Minister but a party leader. I want to see someone who will reinvigorate the grassroots and give people a reason to join the party again – to boost our membership. I want a leader who will inspire people to join, not just to stand for elected positions, but to be community leaders and game changers.
I want to see a leader who will give grassroots their voices back. The more someone is restricted from speaking their opinions freely, the more likely something outrageous is going to come out in my opinion – Like a teenager rebelling against a parents instruction of “no”. Combined with giving members more for their money, the new leader should allow freedom of public policy discussion, without seeking to stifle voices for fear of their own reputation.
The new leader should not treat associations with contempt, but provide them with adequate resources and training for them to build up their membership and campaign machines.
These responsibilities should by no means be the sole responsibility of the new leader, but the team around them who they appoint.
Of the names being flung about at the moment, I can’t honestly say there is anyone who both my head and heart can agree on, there is a degree of uncertainty that is making me nervous. I don’t like not being in control of a situation. I am really looking forward to seeing candidates put forward their manifestos of what they want to do as Prime Minister and as Party Leader.