“I don’t think there will ever be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime…” ~ Margaret Thatcher, 1973
If America succeeds in electing the billionaire businessman DONALD TRUMP as its 45th president in 2016, could that pave the way for the UK to elect the millionaire entrepreneur ADAM AFRIYIE as Britain’s first BLACK Prime Minister in 2020?
If you were to wrack your brains for the one event that could transform British politics, put the United Kingdom on the front pages of every newspaper on Earth and dominate news cycles for years to come, what would you come up with? I have an idea: we could elect our first black prime minister. Simple as that. And we could do so at the 2020 general election.
Not only would this feat make British political history, but by vaulting him to the position of becoming the first black leader of a European country in its continental history, his election could have a bigger historical impact than the 2008 election of US President Barack Obama or the (increasingly likely) 2016 election of real estate billionaire Donald Trump.
Furthermore, as the British Commonwealth (whose population of 2.3 billion people scattered across 53 states on five continents and responsible for a staggering $10 TRILLION of world GDP) would have just witnessed one of their own sons assume the leadership of the Mother Country, they would likely respond to his election not merely by throwing open their markets to Britain’s businesses and providing a dramatic boost to her economy but would view his rise to power as a kind of closure that would complete the circle of the painful history made by the British Empire and look upon this assumption of leadership as an ‘atonement’ of sorts for the many wrongs committed in its name. His arrival at No.10 Downing Street would thus serve both as a poignant coda to that imperial past and the perfect prelude to its imminent reprise.
And just how might all of this unfold? A recent study by the British Future think-tank suggested that Prime Minister David Cameron could have spared himself a coalition with the 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 compelling argument that, were the Tory Party to succeed Mr Cameron with the black millionaire businessman and MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, ahead of the 2020 general election, his potential to become our country’s first black prime minister – and the excitement this might generate – 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 British general election would likely inspire those voters to coalesce into an Afriyie-backing electoral monolith not unlike that which rallied behind 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 than any of his opponents in 2020. His potential appeal across party lines and ability to 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, in 2020. Together with his likely clean sweep of the BME electorate, Mr Afriyie could enter Downing Street with a titanic parliamentary majority. Crucially, Mr Afriyie’s historic candidacy would massively boost voter participation by the Afro-Caribbean community and the prospect of his becoming Britain’s first black prime minister would virtually guarantee that the 2020 general 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 version of America’s so-called ‘Bradley Effect’ and set us up for an epic let-down in May of 2020, you may ask. Many feared the same prospect lay in store for candidate 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 proved to be pure fiction when those self-same white voters elected and then re-elected Mr Obama to two consecutive terms as their president.
And since few, if any, Tory voters switched parties 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’ to the opposition parties, 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 parties like UKIP at bay and (c) because, oh heck, why not make some history while we have the chance?
After all, when one considers how doubtful former PM Margaret Thatcher was concerning Britain’s willingness to have a woman as prime minister, we can draw some comfort when we learn that Mr Afriyie once voiced similar scepticism about the country’s readiness to elect a black man to the same post.
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 London, 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 swept them aside and battled his way through a university degree in agricultural economics, eventually switching over to computer programming and going on to lead a team of engineers at an IT start-up.
He has 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 standard bearer of the Conservative Party ahead of the 2020 general election. He is Toryism’s walking manifesto and a man whose backstory puts Obama’s to shame – to say nothing of Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, the Lib-Dems Tim Farron or UKIP’s Nigel Farage.
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 applying his brain power to the creation of an information technology start-up long before it was fashionable so to do, is something the Conservative Party should celebrate 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 an Afriyie candidacy in 2020 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.
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 ‘progressivist’ milestones. For here stands a party that has never elected a female leader in its entire history and whose current boss is yet another in a long line of white males to have helmed the organization.
If this party stands idly by as the Conservatives proceed to select their first black party leader – and he goes on to win the general election – Labour in particular and the Left as a whole will have lost all credibility where the progressive principles they have long espoused are concerned. In 2020 they stand to lose more than an election: at stake are their very ‘lives’ both as a party and an ideology. The sheer political witlessness Labour unerringly displays could forever cost her the BME vote along with those of other core constituencies on which the party has long relied for its survival. Mr Afriyie’s potential selection as Tory leader post-Cameron would be the final nail in their coffin and the coup de grace that would forever bury them as champions of the societal underdog.
As for the wider world, the prospect of a descendant of one of Britain’s former colonies becoming her prime minister would resonate with immense historical significance. Nothing would underscore this more powerfully 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 2020 election in order to ask him to form a government. The pomp and circumstance of this occasion would surely provide for one of the most emotionally arresting 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 than one of its Eurosceptic sons who had now ascended to the leadership of the Mother Country?
Mr Afriyie’s leadership could 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 thus serve as the hub of a planet-wide Commonwealth Free Trade Zone and the epicentre of a new British-led global economic renaissance.
As Britain’s national debt drifts ever closer to disastrous levels last witnessed in Weimar Germany, there is a brutal economic logic to Britain’s choosing to elect a black prime minister. Only he can inspire the celebratory international response that would open new doors for British business across the globe and provide the country with new markets through which to escape a looming financial collapse. 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.
Meanwhile, those fragile souls in Middle England who might 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 that renders him impervious to the whiff of prejudice that all-too-often muzzles white politicians and prevents them from addressing this issue more forcefully than they otherwise would. A black prime minister would be at liberty to act with far greater force against illegal entrants 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.
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 prime minister who would be just as expeditious in addressing this long-running concern they could do worse than Mr Afriyie.
As for Britain’s economy, Mr Afriyie’s prescriptions for addressing its woes would likely be no less inspired. With a background as a computing entrepreneur and as the first British prime minister to have run several such companies – in an age where digital is shaping the global future – Britain would at last have a PM who knows his API from his C++.
Napoleon’s ‘nation of shopkeepers’ could soon morph into Afriyie’s ‘Kingdom of Code’, transforming Britain into a silicon wonderland where Java, PHP and Ruby were as compulsory to the national curriculum as English and maths. With a laptop in the hands of every British child, Mr Afriyie could inspire a nation of computer geeks to code Britain’s way to the summit of the global economic totem pole. Gone would be the days when the country’s adolescents ebbed their lives away in stuffy bedrooms, transfixed by the flickering glare of their Xbox consoles, Snapchats and PS4s. In Afriyie’s Britain soccer stadia across the land would be converted into gladiatorial arenas worthy of the Hunger Games where thousands of contestants waged coding wars in nationally-televised hackathons.
And never would have black Britons known a role model quite like our new prime minister. Both as a businessman and as a political leader, Mr Afriyie could serve as an inspirational icon to the delinquents of the country’s inner cities, providing them with an alternative pathway to societal success along with an empowering new paradigm of their own personhood in place of the self-loathing and fratricidal nihilism that all too many of them have come to embrace. And while his likely 2020 Labour Party rival, Chuka Umunna, has long been touted as ‘Britain’s Barack Obama’, the outcome of the 2016 US election could yet see Adam Afriyie emerge as Britain’s very own Donald Trump.