Published on March 13, 2014
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. #RegimeChange COULD BRITAIN ELECT HER FIRST BLACK PRIME MINISTER IN 2015?
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. “I don’t think there will ever be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime…” ~ Margaret Thatcher, 1973
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. Black is the new Blue If you were to wrack your brains in a bid to summon the single act, the bold masterstroke, that could almost at once transform our politics, boost our morale, propel us to pole position, swathe us in the world’s goodwill and emblazon us on the front pages of every gazette on Earth, dominating news cycles for years to come and delivering us from the fiscal calamity to which we presently appear headed, just what bright spark could you conjure? I may have one: we could elect our first black prime minister. Simple as that. And we could do so at the next general election. Not only would this feat make British political history, but by virtue of the fact that his victory would instantly vault him to the perch of becoming, by default, the first black leader of a European state in the annals of its continental existence, would likely deliver a louder thunderclap and convulse the planet with greater cyclonic force than the 2008 election of US President Barack Obama. Furthermore, as the British Commonwealth (whose population of 2.3 billion people scattered across 53 states astride five continents and accounting for $10 trillion of world GDP) would have just witnessed one of their own sons ascend to the premiership of the Mother Country, they would likely greet this development not merely by throwing open their markets to Britain’s businesses and providing a dramatic boost to our economy but would view his election as a kind of closure, completing the circle of history made by the British Empire and signifying an atonement of sorts for any wrongs committed in its name. His auspicious arrival at No.10 would thus serve both as a poignant coda to that imperial past and the perfect prelude to its imminent reprise. ---------------------
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. And just how might all of this transpire? A recent study by the British Future think-tank indicated that Prime Minister David Cameron might have spared himself a coalition with the mutinous Lib-Dems and instead formed a Conservative majority government in 2010 had he successfully secured an additional 500,000 votes from the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) electorate. This revelation provides a particularly compelling argument that, were the Tory Party able to summon the courage to replace Mr Cameron with the black millionaire businessman and MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, ahead of the 2015 general election, his potential to become our country’s first black premier – and the delirium this might trigger – could rally unparalleled BME support behind the Conservatives and win over scores of white centrists from Labour, the Lib-Dems and UKIP to deliver the biggest landslide in British political history. The case for Mr Afriyie finds further support in a 2013 survey by Simon Woolley’s organization, Operation Black Vote. According to Mr Woolley’s findings there are 241 constituencies across the country – of which 168 are key swing marginals – where the BME electorate is larger than the majority by which the sitting MP secured victory. And while this grouping does not constitute a unified voting bloc, the prospect of a black prime minister emerging from a metamorphic British general election would likely inspire those voters to coagulate into an Afriyie- backing monolith not unlike that which rallied behind the historic candidacy of Barack Obama and swept him into the White House in 2008. Mr Afriyie, who serves as the MP for the virtually all-white constituency of Windsor, may also prove to be an even bigger draw with white voters across the country than Mr Cameron. According to a 2012 survey by the Runnymede Trust, white voter intentions for 2015 show Labour garnering 31% of their support, the Conservatives 37%, the Lib-Dems 22% and the remaining 10% distributed amongst the smaller parties. Crucially, the meteoric rise of UKIP appears set to salami-slice the white vote even further, thus placing the leading pair
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. of political parties – and the slender margins on which their electoral fates will depend – in a truly excruciating testicular vice and inducing the temptation to pander to Nigel Farage’s UKIP in a bid to peel support their way. By refreshing contrast, Mr Afriyie’s potential to traverse party lines and win over support from Labour, the Lib-Dems, UKIP and other parties could see him capture anywhere between 45-60% of the national white vote, if not more. Together with his likely clean sweep of the BME electorate, Mr Afriyie could enter Downing Street with a titanic parliamentary majority. Indeed, an Afriyie-led Tory Party – and its transformational agenda on immigration and the EU – would render superfluous the entirety of UKIP’s electoral platform and would very likely persuade Mr Farage to throw his full weight behind the historic Afriyie Campaign in an act that would guarantee a spectacular victory next May. Mr Afriyie’s candidacy would have a particularly profound impact in at least twenty of Labour’s one hundred most vulnerable seats, which the Tories failed to win in 2010. With an average BME population of 15% (all the way up to 28% for the five seats in London) the Windsor MP would easily swing these to the Tories at the next general election; with Mr Cameron as the candidate the Conservatives could face disaster. As things stand, the Tories only have 16% support among BME voters compared with the 68% garnered by Labour in 2010. Without Mr Afriyie, the Tories’ dismal polling with that electorate threatens their control of up to 15 parliamentary seats and dooms any prospect of their capturing 10 to 15 others held by Labour with thin majorities. The Tories 2010 deficit in BME support could cost them up to 40 seats in 2015 if they contest the election with their current candidate. Not only would Mr Afriyie sweep up this vote, he could win even more white support than Mr Cameron secured in 2010.
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. Crucially, Mr Afriyie’s historic candidacy would massively boost voter participation by the traditionally apathetic Afro-Caribbean community and the prospect of his becoming Britain’s first black prime minister would virtually guarantee that the 2015 election would yield the highest overall voter turnout of any in British history. But mightn’t Mr Afriyie’s candidacy fall victim to a slumbering British variant of America’s so-called ‘Bradley Effect’ and thus set us all up for an epic let-down come the morning of May 8th ? Many feared the same prospect lay in store for one Barack Hussein Obama in 2008. Long had many an American political pundit peddled the pernicious myth that white voters, while happily telling pollsters one thing regarding their voting intentions where a black candidate was concerned, would duly turn around on Election Day and with curtains safely drawn, proceed to cast their ballots for the white guy. This turned out to be the slanderous lie many had long suspected when those self-same voters elected and then re-elected Mr Obama to two consecutive terms as their president. And since few, if any, Tory voters jumped ship and voted for Labour’s Jim Callaghan in 1979 in response to Margaret Thatcher’s appointment as her party’s first female leader, there is reason for optimism that were Mr Afriyie to emerge as the Conservative Party’s first black candidate for prime minister such a development, far from triggering a ‘white flight’ into Mr Farage’s gleeful embrace, would likely inspire its opposite: to the avalanche of BME voters who would pour into the Conservative Party would be added millions of white Labour, Lib-Dem and UKIP supporters who might switch sides and vote Tory for the first time (a) because Mr Afriyie happened to be a candidate whose platform they favoured (b) as the only way to keep Mr Farage at bay and (c) because, oh heck, why not make some history while we have the chance?
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. Mr Afriyie’s candidacy would also inspire an unprecedented turnout by white and BME youth voters on a scale that mirrored the participation of their American counterparts in the 2008 election. Indeed, so dramatically could the Afriyie Campaign displace the tectonic plates of British politics and so profoundly might it precipitate seismic realignments within the electorate at large that it could likely alter forever the very structure of British society itself. As for the mechanics through which Mr Cameron would be set aside as leader: Tory Party rules stipulate that a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister’s leadership can only be triggered if 15% of the parliamentary party (46 Tory MPs) write to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, expressing this wish. And all that would be required to secure this outcome would be for the constituents in the 61 Tory-held marginal seats whose BME electorates significantly exceed their MP’s majority to set the ball rolling by conducting a massive lobbying campaign (by letter, email and social media) to demand that such a no-confidence missive to Mr Brady be mailed by their local MP. To this number would doubtless be added hundreds of additional Tory mutineers and Mr Cameron would soon be a thing of the past. Indeed, there is much encouragement to be drawn from doubts famously expressed by Mrs Thatcher that she would ever see a woman prime minister in her lifetime when we learn that Mr Afriyie once voiced similar scepticism regarding the prospect of a black one in his. --------------------- Mr Afriyie, the mixed-race son of an English mother and Ghanaian father and who was raised in abject poverty on a council estate in Peckham, is the ultimate poster child for the Conservative Party’s aspirational credo and the supreme exemplar of the values Toryism purports to uphold. Exposed to vile racial slurs as a child, Mr Afriyie
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. swept them aside and battled his way through a degree in agricultural economics at Wye College, eventually switching over to computer programming and UNIX code, and going on to lead a team of engineers at an IT start-up in Dulwich. He’s since built and run several successful businesses and made a multi-million-pound fortune in the process. To have done so as a black man against whom the societal odds are purportedly stacked makes him the person best suited to serve as the leader and public face of the Conservative Party ahead of the 2015 general election. He is Toryism’s walking manifesto and a man whose backstory puts Barack Obama’s to shame – to say nothing of Cameron’s, Miliband’s, Farage’s or Clegg’s. And after all, what better way to entice BME voters into Tory ranks than to have a black self-made multi-millionaire like Mr Afriyie at the helm of the party? For a black man to have attained his level of success not through dribbling a soccer ball up the Premier League or hip- hopping his way to the top of the pop charts but by stirring his brain cells into the creation of a tech start-up long before it was all the rage, is something the Conservative Party ought to trumpet far more loudly and proudly than they’ve done thus far. --------------------- The implications for the Labour Party – and for the ideological Left as a whole – of Mr Afriyie’s potential candidacy are impossible to overstate. For if the supposedly reactionary and xenophobic Tory Party, having already shattered glass ceilings by giving Britain its first Jewish and first female prime ministers in Benjamin Disraeli and Margaret Thatcher, beats Labour to the punch and nominates a black man to lead the Conservatives into the next general election – and he goes on to win – this development could sound the death knell for Labour as a party and the Left as an ideology in Britain.
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. Labour could find itself confronting the same existential crisis in Great Britain that now faces the Republican Party in the United States of America. Having long retailed itself as the ‘caring party’ – the champion of women’s rights, race equality, gay liberation, the ‘working class’, environmentalism and the like – Labour has precious little to show for it by way of any real world institutional, policy or governance milestones. For here stands a party that has never elected a female leader in its entire history and whose current boss is only the first person of the Jewish faith to have ever helmed the organization. If this party stands idly by as the Conservatives proceed to select their first black leader – and he goes on to prevail in the general election – Labour in particular and the Left as a whole will have lost all credibility where the principles and causes they have long espoused are concerned. This could be their ideological Götterdämmerung. In 2015 they stand to lose more than an election: at stake are their very ‘lives’ both as a party and an ideology. Such sheer political witlessness as they unerringly display could forever cost them the BME vote along with those of other core constituencies on which they have long relied for their survival. Mr Afriyie’s potential selection as Tory leader would be the final nail in their coffin and the coup de grace that would forever bury them as champions of the societal underdog. On top of this, Labour hardly needs reminding that a Scottish referendum looms on the horizon that could cost them over 40 MPs in the event of a ‘yes’ vote. An analysis by Scottish pollster John Curtice finds that a vote for Scottish independence this September would nullify Labour’s parliamentary advantage in the territory and require the party to rustle up an additional 250,000 ballots from the rest of the country, thus making their long-suffering BME support base even more critical to their very survival. By contrast, an Afriyie candidacy and the hope it would inspire throughout the country offers the best chance not only that the Scots would vote to remain within the Union but that the Tories could actually win every Labour seat in Scotland and replace her as the dominant party north of the English border.
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. In some ways the Scottish Nationalists, in their bid to break away from Great Britain, bear a passing resemblance to the Southern Confederacy at the time of its efforts to secede from the Union during the American Civil War. And Alex Salmond, the Gaels’ aspirant to the mantle of General Robert E. Lee, is unlikely to be persuaded to reverse course by all of the entreaties of Messrs Miliband and Cameron combined, no matter what Aristotelian feat of sophistry either man can muster. Indeed, nothing less than a truly empowering vision of a prosperous and globally resurgent United Kingdom of the kind that only Mr Afriyie, the British Abraham Lincoln, could offer would sway our Scottish compatriots into remaining within the fold. Sadly for Mr Cameron, the Scottish referendum is likely to cost him the general election – whichever way the vote goes. A ‘no’ vote would allow Labour to retain its Scottish parliamentary advantage; a ‘yes’ vote would saddle Mr Cameron with the blame for being the premier on whose watch the British Isles went the way of the Balkans. --------------------- As for the wider world, Mr Afriyie’s merits simply outshine those of his would-be rivals. The prospect of a descendant of one of Britain’s former colonies becoming her prime minister would resonate with a significance that reduced Mr Obama’s 2008 election as president of the United States to a comparative piddling. Nothing would underscore this more potently than the spectacle of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, who also doubles as Head of the Commonwealth, inviting Britain’s first black prime minister to Buckingham Palace following his election in order to ask him to form a government. The pomp and circumstance of this occasion – its staggering symbolism – would surely provide for one of the most myocardial moments in world history. After all, who better to lead Britain out of an obsolescent EU and restore her to her former glory as a true world power at the head of a resurgent Commonwealth
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. than one of its Eurosceptic sons who had now ascended to the premiership of the Mother Country? Mr Afriyie’s leadership would revitalize this planetary power bloc and help to establish a Commonwealth Stock Exchange whose market capitalization of $10.6 trillion would position it as second only to the New York Stock Exchange in sheer scale. This London-based powerhouse could serve as the hub of a planet-wide Commonwealth Free Trade Zone and the epicentre of a new British-led global economic renaissance. Far from being a ‘black Tory sell-out’ as his loathsome critics on the near-moribund Left would likely brand him, Mr Afriyie could prove to be the most consequential pan-African and pan-Commonwealth politician in world history. And as the former colonial ruler of several of the Middle East’s leading states – Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Aden, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Kuwait – Prime Minister Afriyie would be perfectly placed to play a far more metamorphic role as a broker of Arab-Israeli peace and Iranian de-nuclearization than the feckless Obama administration. Indeed, Great Britain could supplant the American role in the region and replace Washington DC as the most effective Western power when it comes to resolving its disputes, thus heralding the dawn of a new Pax Britannica that would shelter planet Earth under the pacifying canopy of the Union Flag. --------------------- The choice that faces the British electorate next May could hardly be more stark: we can appoint yet another Oxbridge bore in a plebiscite that would likely meet with a collective ‘meh’ of global indifference and see ourselves continue to splutter along into obscurity such that when our current prime minister recently ventured abroad and attended various functions alongside the charismatic US president,
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. many mistook Mr Cameron for one of Mr Obama’s aides and barely glanced his way. Or we could break new ground by appointing our first black prime minister in an election that would dominate the front pages of every global newspaper and envelop us in the warm embrace of the world’s affections in ways that would see our economy skyrocket into the stratosphere as the planet stampeded into a ‘buy British’ frenzy and the peoples of this great nation basked in the radiant afterglow of a majestic national makeover. The choice is wholly ours. And as Britain’s national debt drifts ever closer to disastrous levels last witnessed in Weimar Germany (with everything that ensued) there is a brutal economic logic impelling the historic and revitalizing election of a black prime minister. Mr Afriyie’s election is, quite frankly, a matter of life and death for our country. A dramatic national reboot is urgently called for and the only game in town is the Windsor MP. Only he can inspire the ecstatic international response that would open new doors for British business across the globe and provide our country with an escape hatch from her looming fiscal apocalypse. Electing so historic a candidate would thus represent the single most patriotic act of one’s civic duty any Briton could ever be called upon to perform. No other contestant could even dream of inspiring a remotely comparable outpouring. Not Farage, Miliband, Cameron or Clegg. --------------------- Those delicate souls in Middle England who may dread the prospect of a black prime minister opening Britain’s floodgates to every illegal immigrant on Earth can rest easy. As a black man Mr Afriyie comes equipped with an ethnological Kevlar vest, which renders him impervious to the kinds of accusatory munitions that all too often
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. perforate the thin skins of white politicians and restrain them from addressing this issue more forcefully than they otherwise would. Unperturbed by such concerns, a black prime minister would be at liberty to act with far greater dispatch against those aliens whose documents weren’t in order precisely because of his relative immunity from the lament of ‘racism.’ Simply put, a black prime minister of Great Britain would be an illegal immigrant’s worst nightmare. From his very first day at Downing Street decrees would issue forth setting loose his Border Agency stormtroopers with a ferocity that would soon have sundry aliens executing the butterfly stroke across the English Channel to escape his wrath. Indeed, Mr Afriyie’s crackdown on illegal migrants would be nothing more than a British adaptation of the policy already being pursued by that darling of the Global Left, America’s President Obama, who has been engaged in the most ruthless campaign of deportations in US history, far eclipsing those of his white predecessors, in a crusade that has seen him apply the boot to nearly two million aliens. If the British people want a premier who would be just as expeditious in addressing this long-running concern they need look no further than Mr Afriyie. --------------------- As for our national economy, Mr Afriyie’s prescriptions for addressing its woes would likely be no less radical. With a background as a computing entrepreneur and as the first British premier to have run several such companies – in an age where information technology is shaping our economic future – Britain would at last have a PM who knows his API from his C++. Through the establishment of revolutionary partnerships with the world’s leading tech companies, our new prime minister would transform Britain into the world’s biggest incubator and one whose
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. national landscape could come to resemble the Google Campus. Napoleon’s ‘nation of shopkeepers’ would morph into Afriyie’s kingdom of coders and ours would become a silicon wonderland where Java, PHP and Ruby were as compulsory to the national curriculum as English and maths. With a laptop in the palm of every British child, Mr Afriyie’s policies would germinate a nation of geeks who would code Britain’s pathway to the summit of the global economic totem pole. Gone would be the days when our teens ebbed their lives away in stuffy bedrooms, transfixed by the flickering glare of their Xbox consoles, Candy Crush Sagas and PS4s. Under the Afriyie regime soccer stadia across the country would be converted into gladiatorial arenas worthy of the Hunger Games where thousands of contestants waged coding wars in nationally-televised hackathons for the chance to win cash prizes or a Gadget Show-sized stash. Mr Afriyie’s revolutionary economic and technology policies would propel Britain to the front ranks of the planetary order and deliver a stinging riposte to legions of sceptics who would soon find themselves transfixed as our first black prime minister, like a British Moses, raised his rod and transfigured Enoch Powell's once-prophesied rivers of blood into a silicon sea on which the HMS Britain duly set sail into a future of unparalleled prosperity. --------------------- And just what might an Afriyie cabinet look like? It would likely be as glittering a constellation of the most impressive Britons as have ever gathered in one room. From the appointment of Sir Alan Sugar as Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the selection of Sir Richard Branson to the post of State Secretary for Business and Innovation, to the installation of SAS supremo Major-General Mark Carleton-Smith as Defence Secretary, Prime Minister Afriyie would doubtless field a gold- plated administration that would shame the Justice League.
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. And never would have black Britons known a role model quite like our newly-minted premier. Both as a businessman and as a political leader, Mr Afriyie would serve as an inspirational icon to the wayward “you get me, blood” delinquents of Generation Trident, providing them with an alternative pathway to societal success through computing and code along with an empowering new paradigm of their own personhood in place of the fratricidal ‘gangsta’ nihilism that all too many of them have come to embrace. Were Britain a tech start-up the election of her first black prime minister would be the killer app that propelled her to the top of the corporate totem pole and the summit of world regard. Like the political equivalent of an IPO, Britain would witness her geopolitical market cap soar into the stratosphere almost overnight. Think of the global adoration in which America basked following Obama's election – and then multiply it sevenfold. We now have it in our power to undertake a spectacular self- reinvention that would make world headlines for years to come. Our national rebrand would be as big a news story as a Martian landing and would soon have the world on its feet and the Union Jack fluttering from every rooftop on Earth. It would be the British Empire all over again and as never before. Indeed, so thoroughly would we have crashed America’s 2008 party and so wantonly stolen her thunder that she would barely know what had hit her. So, come on Britain. Let's get this done. ------------------- P.T.B. / 1 March 2014.
Copyright © 2014 Paul Twinomucunguzi Bitakaramire. All rights reserved. About the Author Paul Bitakaramire is a freelance writer and blogger. He has previously been published in the Spectator and African Executive magazines and lives in Lancashire. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. ---------------------
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