Jeevan graduated from the London School of Economics with a Masters in Comparative Politics, specialising in counter-terrorism and political violence. Regular tweets can be found @jeevanvc.
The ascension of Theresa May to 10 Downing Street as the country’s second –Conservative– female Prime Minister is an event of considerable pride for Tories. It also presents a series of opportunities to change the United Kingdom for the better. I am reminded of a significant Latin phrase, Carpe Diem. It means ‘seize the day’. Brexit was not what I wanted. However it may nonetheless prove a significant turning point as Britain boldly steps out into the unknown, as it ever has. Mrs May can now seize the day. She can rebalance and modernise the economy to boldly transform Great Britain outside of Europe.
Firstly, both Conservatives and the UK as a whole owe a great deal to David Cameron. He rejuvenated the Conservative Party, proving that compassionate Conservatism can be a winner among the people. He won two elections. His 2010 electoral debut against Gordon Brown was one of the most significant pro-opposition swings since the Second World War. He also re-energised the economy, delivering jobs and growth while Europe was stagnant. Those might who blame him for Brexit ignore the fact that the Europe issue was building to a climax over years and simply blew up on his watch. The eventual outcome of the referendum shows that Europe was not a genuine issue not only for a section of Conservatives and UKIP but for the whole public. He leaves behind a Tory Party that is on the brink of returning to its’ old dominance. Cameron’s full legacy won’t be known for decades, but the initial impression from Conservatives especially should be one of profound gratitude.
What now, after the UK is out of Europe? There are many key challenges. Sections of the public feel alienated and ignored, particularly on immigration. There is an economic disparity between North and South. Neither London’s financial services wealth nor EU grants seem to have done much to end relative poverty in Great Britain’s North. However, as Mr Cameron said upon leaving the House as PM, ‘’nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it’’. Mrs May can bring great change. The initial emphasis on industrial strategy by Mrs May is a very good sign that underlines there is a recognition of the need to further develop the North. That ship has not sailed, contrary to what some may say. The massive economies of China and India among others have millions of consumers who crave more advanced goods, infrastructure and services. All of these can be established in Great Britain over time- indeed many are already present, they simply need to be scaled up. Prominent examples include Rolls-Royce, Virgin, Tata-JLR and brands like the Premier League (dominated by the Midlands and London).
I strongly hope Mrs May continues David Cameron’s geopolitical strategy of reaching out to India. The £9bn of business deals signed during PM Narendra Modi’s visit in November 2015 is nothing to scoff at. It is indicative of what can be achieved as the relationship with New Delhi develops. Trade and investment like these is exactly what the UK needs to make Brexit work. This, together with education reform can make Britain an attractive investment destination once again, providing industrial development and skilled works. Further lower red tape and reduce corporate taxes to incentivise investment. Transport links such as HS2 should be encouraged as this will bring investment and jobs to the North and Midlands. Japan experienced a flood of investment and growth after its investment in the famous Shinkansen bullet trains, therefore so can the UK.
In turn this can bring about a socio-economic transformation that can heal the social rifts that have come about as a result of the referendum and in many ways have actually caused Brexit. The UK now has a powerful opportunity to change the direction it is going in. A journey that can transform our country for the better. A combination of social justice, industrial power and regeneration which can make Great Britain competitive with any major region in the world. The Conservatives are once again at the forefront of bringing Britain into a new era. I look forward to seeing Mrs May’s Premiership unfold over the years. The challenges are great, but then so are the opportunities. Seize the day, Prime Minister May and lead us toward a stronger Britain. Carpe Diem!