Open Letter To Conservative MPs

Posted 30 Jun 2016 by Walaa Idris

Tory Leadership 2016

Dear Conservative MPs,

A week ago our country voted to leave the European Union. This momentous event was bitter sweet; just as the majority of Britain was celebrating democracy our leader and the Prime Minister of our nation resigned and triggered a leadership election. Unlike his own leadership election in 2005, this time for obvious reasons the election is run on a very tight schedule. The country and its economy need stability and surety hence the short campaign. However, we can efficiently achieve both in the timetable set while fully involving the membership.

As it stands, members have no input until the final two are selected by you, our elected representatives. In 2005 that was fine. However, today in 2016 this is a potential challenge. Grassroots who pound the streets, stuff envelopes, hold gardens fetes to raise fighting funds and travel the width and length of the country to get you elected will not stand for it.

We don’t need to look too far to see the fallout of internal political disharmony. A quick glance across the chambers’ floor and you will see the Labour party is in disarray due to disconnect between its Parliamentary Party and membership. The PLP don’t want their current leader because he doesn’t share their vision even though he was elected with an overwhelming mandate. In life we learn from mistakes, those made by ourselves but also the ones made by others. That is the purpose of this letter.

The next leader needs to unify both the party and our great union. I am positive I speak for many in the Conservative family when I say grassroots members must have a say in selecting the two finalists. That will be the first step towards unifying Brexiter and Remainers in our party.

My suggestion therefore is for MPs to hold a sounding meeting in their constituencies before the first elimination. By each MP polling their association on whom they want as the future leader, and reflecting that view in the final selection, the final two presented to the grassroots for election will be a truer reflection of our party’s membership and not a coronation by MPs.

This move will unify the two sides plus strengthen the position of the newly elected leader by giving them the mandate of an appropriate and comprehensive election. Recently, there has been a growing feeling of disconnect between the membership and leadership, there is a sense amongst the grassroots that power is mostly led from the centre rather than the broad.

By fully involving members in the selection process, the Conservative Party will heed any feelings of disconnect while also bringing closer and empower both sides.

Many thanks for your time

Sincerely yours
Walaa Idris

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Brexit is the beginning not the end

Posted 24 Jun 2016 by Walaa Idris

As someone who campaigned passionately to leave the EU I am beyond delighted with the result. However I have to admit there have been moments, even as late as yesterday, when I doubted our side can win. At times, during the campaign, the tone from the other side was dark and even disturbing; that made me think people will vote Remain out of fear and a desire to not rock the boat, not out of conviction. After pulling an all-nighter at the Kensington and Chelsea count, were my side lost, I then stayed awake until it was clear Leave has won before sleeping for a couple of hours.

Sadly, woke up to find David Cameron has resigned. His swift resignation epitomises all that is Cameron, honourable, honest and fair. It is painful to see such a brave leader step down for keeping and delivering a manifesto promise. As the only British Prime Minister to promise and offer the British people a referendum on our membership with the EU. He will also be remembered for stepping aside to allow for a fresh leadership to negotiate the country’s new relationship with the European Union.

A new dawn has broken today. As a naturalised Brit I feel enormous privilege to have taken part in this momentous referendum by campaigning and voting to leave the EU. This is an exciting time full with pride, anticipation but also some nervousness. Particularly for someone like me who grow up in an autocratic country were voting and having a say on such matters never happen. Therefore, unlike others of my vintage, I have nothing to compare this day to. I lived in the UK since 1991 and before that I was a citizen of the Sudan studying in the US. Besides my late father’s government (in the Sudan) being overthrown by a military coup, yesterday marked the most significant domestic political event of my life.

As someone who cut their political teeth in the US, my politics tend to be a tad tribal and my African Arabian blood adds passion and some heat to that tribalism. Despite that I sat on the fence for some time regarding the EU question. I did it mostly out of respect to David Cameron and his efforts; I didn’t want to pick a side until he completed his renegotiations. Once he was finished it became very clear the only way forward is to vote leave because the undemocratic EU had no intention of democratising, listening to reason or respecting the British public’s wish.

All night, despite knowing that we did everything to convince the electorate, there have been moments when I doubted we will win. As the results kept coming, in the early hours of the morning, it became clear Remain were losing.

Leave winning is just the beginning; it’s the start of a new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. Despite the UK voting to leave very little will change overnight. Having said that, there will be some bumps in the road, change is not easy and not everyone likes or knows how to manage and adapt to it, but it will be temporary and will not have a lasting effect.

Like most who voted Leave I did because I love Britain, respect her democracy and trust her people. As I mentioned before, change is not easy and can at times be challenging, but our conviction and resolve can overcome both. Now, what we need is to stay united as a nation, as parties and work as one for the UK’s best interest. As the fifth largest economy, the fourth strongest security and the home of the biggest financial industry add to that our track record in overcoming adversity we have the foundation to become even bigger and stronger than we are today.

So celebrate this momentous day and look to the future, Britain is great and is about to become even greater.

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The quiet man leaves with an enormous roar

Posted 19 Mar 2016 by Walaa Idris

Iain Duncan Smith

Neither shocked nor surprised but incredibly saddened by Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation. Besides being a formidable social reformer and the last former Conservative leader in this cabinet, by losing him the frontbench has lost a very important voice in the Eurosceptics camp. With him gone from government, even after suspending collective responsibility, the scales are now tipped towards the Europhiles’ camp, thus making the government unbalanced. At this stage of the campaign, tilting the balance either way is unfortunate for both the government and Britain.

On both sides of the political divide people are saying IDS resigned “because he’d get sacked after the referendum” or “he quit to fight for the Out camp” or in some outrageous cases “because he is ashamed of his own reforms” all are wrong assumptions, all gravely misunderstand the man.

In my humble opinion IDS resigned from his post as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions because as a compassionate and principled Conservative reformer he had enough. He stepped down because he felt his reforms – which are designed to protect the poorest in the society, and put social justice at the heart of political policies – were yet again mistranslated. He left because he found it unjust to keep burdening the younger generations to appease pensioners and the middle classes and because he could not assent to tax cuts at the expense of the most vulnerable in the society. Of course savings need to be balanced. However, as compassionate conservatives and all of us being in it together; balanced cuts cannot be at the expense of the most disadvantaged in the society.

His reforms aren’t the problem; the problem is where the savings come from and where they are used.

What I find puzzling is government members expressing their puzzlement, and after all these years of working with IDS not understanding him and his vision of matching funding and spending decisions with social reforms!

After six years as the head of DWP, Iain Duncan Smith left a remarkable legacy which consists of changing the incentives structure and a reformed simpler and fairer welfare system that in a short time saw historic increases in the number of people in work and fewer than ever before children living in workless homes.

That is an awe-inspiring thunderous legacy to leave behind.

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Why I will #VoteLeave and why you should too

Posted 21 Feb 2016 by Walaa Idris

The EU

After being on the fence for years, and at times even considered playing it safe by voting to stay “better the devil you know…. ”, in recent weeks the difference and benefits between staying and leaving the EU became very clear.

But first I would like to pay tribute to the Prime Minister and our party leader David Cameron, for delivering on two promises – negotiating a better deal for Britain and holding a referendum. Both are historic events and though he is not the first prime minister to promise either, he is the first to deliver both. Furthermore, he has negotiated with resolve and courage and got the country the best possible deal. Yet, I think Britain deserves better and would be much stronger outside the EU.

Thank you Mr. Cameron for being a man of your word and a great leader!

Because of his leadership in a few months we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave it. I believe our nation will be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU.

That is why on June 23rd I will vote for Britain to leave.

Because I believe the decisions which govern all our lives such as the taxes we pay and the laws we obey must be made in the UK. They must be debated and decided at home by representatives of the British electorates, by the people we choose and elect. These fundamental decisions and powers cannot be dictated by outsiders, by European autocrats who aren’t accountable to the British electorate.

For me the most crucial aspect of my decision is accountability. I want the people who decide daily how we live our lives in Britain to be accountable and answerable to Britons. This way when a law doesn’t work or an official is corrupt the people who appointed them can vote to change or remove them.

But as things stand now, our EU membership prevents us from changing a number of important laws. Laws that have direct consequence in our economy such as how much VAT we should pay, which industry we can subsidise, where and when we can build, how much and what we can fish and farm, what size our fruits and vegetables should be and who in the world we can or cannot trade and do business with.

The ability to choose what laws govern us, who makes them and the freedom to change either, MUST solely rest within these shores and be determined by the citizens of these islands.

Our Parliament is the Mother of all Parliaments. Our democracy stood the test of time; we showed the world what free people are capable of achieving when allowed to govern. We can’t now give our sovereignty to a failing experiment that created economic chaos, mass unemployment and flawed and dangerous immigration policies. We cannot afford to be a member of a vanity test that is a source of massive border instability and security risks.

As the fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces in the world, by leaving we can take full control of our nation. But most of all we can also lead the way and show other European nations how they too can take control.

This referendum is an opportunity of a lifetime, a chance that may never come again, because of that I will not be true to my values and beliefs if I played it safe. For my country, my children and their children in the future, this June I will vote to leave the European Union and so should you.

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Is sexual assault the latest ISIL weapon?

Posted 9 Jan 2016 by Walaa Idris

Refugees

I ask because sexual assault has been used throughout history as a weapon by attackers and invaders to humiliate subjugate and imprison their captives.

Last summer when hundreds of refugees filled boats docked in the Continent loaded with young and healthy men from North Africa and the Middle East many asked: if all the young men are coming to Europe who is staying back to fight ISIL?

Despite that and talk about ISIL supporters and fighters infiltrating genuine asylum seekers to enter the EU, and in spite of the risk and the danger the journey to Europe’s shores, Germany opened its doors and unconditionally welcomed all comers. The German people offered their homes, gave up their spare rooms, extra cloth, toys, and books, they opened their school halls and asked the rest of Europe to do the same.

Only six month after that selfless welcome, on New Year’s Eve, over one hundred women, while celebrating in the streets of Germany, were sexually assaulted by what was described as Middle Eastern looking men. The streets of the same Germany that opened its doors and hearts in kindness to people they thought were in dire need.

Or were they people in need?

In Islam rape is haram. True Islam condemns all kind of violence without exception. I know many will disagree with me. But as a Muslim brought up in an Islamic country by a Muslim family, I know what true Islam is. This, what ISIL is doing is not what most of us belief. A true Muslim will never attack his or her host. A true Muslim will show gratitude. Sexually assaulting random women on the streets of the country that opened its doors to you and housed you in your hour of need is not gratitude.

That is why I suspect earlier intelligence that said ‘ISIL fighters managed to infiltrate refugees to gain entry into Europe’ to be accurate.

Rape is a vile crime, and comes from a dark place were the attacker is hateful. So far everything ISIL did to fellow Muslims and non-Muslims is hateful and vile. So is it too farfetched to think they might use sexual assault as a weapon?

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EastEnders shows the true face of Islam

Posted 18 Nov 2015 by Walaa Idris

EastEnders

Last week’s Paris attacks were attacks on freedom, liberty and civility. And, though these barbaric and dreadful attacks were carried out by Muslims they do not represent or reflect the beliefs and feelings of the majority of Muslims.

But most of all those attacks are un-Islamic.

Despite of what the likes of Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Boko Harm portray, Islam is a religion of peace that teaches harmony, love and equality. In times like what we are experiencing now, it is paramount for Muslims to speak up against the atrocities wickedly carried out in the name of Islam but also openly speak about the true meaning of Islam.

Surprisingly, on Monday night, EastEnders (a popular long-running BBC weekly soap) beautifully highlighted the true meaning of Islam during that night’s episode. Now, while EastEnders is not your typical platform for religion education, it has a long history of sensitively addressing social issues. On Monday one of the characters Tamwar Masood played by Himesh Patel, explained to his girlfriend Nancy played by Maddy Hill what his favourite passage in The Quran meant.

“Do good to relatives, orphans, the needy, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who’s a stranger, to the companion at your side, and to the traveller.” He then added: “That to me is what Islam is about. Be kind to people, family and strangers alike, and love them.”

To Muslims, those words are not particularly revelatory, but the scene, its timing and the words are a very subtle reminder of the views shared by the majority of us. They also offer comfort at a very uncomfortable time, at a time when the religion is used as an excuse for barbaric attacks – and peaceful Muslims are wrongly targeted.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives in Friday’s attack and their loved ones.

Thank you EastEnders!

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Has Netanyahu lost the plot?

Posted 22 Oct 2015 by Walaa Idris

Netanyahu

Or is there something far more sinister behind his recent comments?

Benjamin Netanyahu insisting a Palestinian leader persuaded Hitler and the Nazis to carry out the Holocaust is an extremely dangerous and irresponsible allegation.

Particularly as every historical document, journal and historian confirms Hitler’s feelings towards the Jews were apparent from his early days in the army. What’s more, his plans for Europe’s Jewish population began in 1939 a whole two years before his meeting with the Palestinian leader.

Adolf Hitler did not meet the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini until 1941, so how can he be the instigator of the most horrific event in that century?

Why then did Netanyahu blatantly lie?

Is it because he hates Palestinians so much he is willing to absolve Hitler from exterminating millions of innocent Jews? Or is there another reason for this calculated declaration?

Angela Merkel immediately responded to his comment by saying “Germany abides by its responsibility for the Holocaust. We are very clear in our minds about the Nazis’ responsibility for the break with civilisation that was the Shoah.”

Besides that, the timing of his remark is very peculiar. Some would say it is even reckless. With all the turmoil in the region not to mention the trouble in his own backyard…., his remark could not have come at a worst time. Historically the relationship between the two nations has always been volatile. However, recently they are the poorest they have been.

So I ask you again, what was the reason behind the comment?

For years Zionists have been trying to rewrite history. Change how Israel came about, redraw legal boundaries and renege on agreed promises. While failing to address how Palestinians are oppressed and terrorised in their own home and how Israel is an unkind neighbour.

The alarming thing is Zionists will stop at nothing to push every Arab out their own home. I say Zionists because most Jews inside and outside Israel accept and even welcome the two state solutions. Historically the two people happily lived side by side long before Hitler, World War II and Netanyahu came about.

So what can the reasons for this comment be? Please, someone, explain to me the one positive thing that can come out of this deliberate story.

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Corbyn’s ascent to Labour’s Leadership should not have come as a surprise.

Posted 22 Sep 2015 by Walaa Idris

Corbyn

Yet, it seems it did. For many the Labour party began shifting further left five years ago when they elected as leader Ed and not David Miliband. The 2010 leadership election was the strongest indication the Blair project was on its last leg and drawing its final breath. For five years following that election we watched as Miliband hovered over the centre ground not quite knowing whether to be true to his political beliefs or appease the Blairites and the centrists in his party. His reluctance stemmed from the struggle between what his mind supposed and what’s in his heart. As you can imagine, the two were pulling in opposite directions and it showed. His leadership was littered with mishmash policies that neither gelled with each other nor made a great deal of sense.

So when politicos and pundits say we didn’t see it coming, I wonder if they were watching the same political arena the rest of us were watching.

Besides, didn’t it become clear this May after terribly losing in Scotland that the only way Labour can win back Scottish seat, a core of their electoral majority, is by shifting away from the centre and to the left?

I might be wrong here, yet I don’t believe that I am. Labour electing Jeremy Corbyn as their head is nothing more than the party going back to its roots and returning home to its truth. Now whether his election will make Labour more or less electable remains to be seen. However, it definitely makes it a genuine opposition – one that will give the current government a few headaches – but nonetheless an authentic leftist party.

The question everyone is asking, can a hard left Labour Party offer Britain a better suitable alternative? That too remains to be seen.

There is no doubt Corbyn has embarked on a rough and some would say a brave ride. His politics is of the past. He is not friendly with reporters. He never ran or managed a department nor held a ministerial post before. He spent the majority of his political existence opposing his own party. And, on top of all that he didn’t expect and some would say even intended to win; this is all too new and overwhelming for him. The same goes for most of those he appointed to lead with him. But all of that can be solved by having the right advisers and getting the council of seasoned experienced elders. Even his disrespect to the monarchy and veterans can be rectified by future more positive actions.

Having said that, Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest problem isn’t his old politics or being a novice. Nor is it his lack of experience in frontbench politics, nor avoiding the media and disrespecting the realm plus a large proportion of the very people that elected him leader. His problem is the Labour Party. Will it accept him and his proposed changes, will it collectively stand behind him and support his vision of over taxing, higher welfare bills, anti-aspiration anti –austerity, anti NATO …., and the rest of it. Or will it fight him every step of the way and even fragment?

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Will Labourites elect a Blairite or Jeremey Corbyn?

Posted 11 Sep 2015 by Walaa Idris

Labour Leadership

After months of speculations, agitations for some and jubilation for others, we are only a few hours away from knowing who will become the next Labour leader.

Will it be a Blairite or Corbyn?

If it’s the former then it will be business as usual for the Labour Party and their supporters. The leader will be less left-wing than Miliband, most of the Parliamentary Labour Party will back him or her and the other three candidates will most likely each have a position in his/her Shadow Cabinet. He or she will work hard to occupy the centre ground and the opposition will agree with some of the government’s policies and disagree with others.

However, if Jeremy Corbyn is elected, the Labour Party and the country are in for a very rough ride. He is as far left as they come. So as a matter of principle he will oppose almost everything the government proposes, and call for most services to become public and tax anything under the sun. In other words, he will promise the moon and expect taxpayers to foot the bill. I expect he will struggle to put together a Cabinet, since many already indicated they won’t serve under him. But he will nonetheless continue to spread the Corbyn gospel of tax and spend.

All of that could be fun to watch, if as a nation we didn’t have a deficit to reduce, debts to repay, new homes to build and an influx of refugees to settle. Not to mention the global migration crisis our world is facing today. Someone like Corbyn, who takes being in opposition literally, can make things extremely difficult to run and manage.

Andy Burnham, who for most of this leadership race was the front runner, is a seasoned frontbench operator. But Corbynmania exposed him as the status quo candidate plus I’m sure his insane flip-flopping on issues didn’t help. Towards the end he appeared robotic and predictable with nothing new to offer. Some still feel he talks a great deal of sense and is the best person to lead Labour to victory in 2020. But many see him as a continuation of the past and the candidate who offers nothing new.

Yvette Copper on the other hand was slow off the blocks, yet she managed to push ahead steadily. Throughout this contest she showed stamina and resilience plus it seems in recent days she found her passion. But for some being Mrs Balls somehow works against her. Having said that, just as this contest is Corbyn’s to lose it is now Copper’s to win. A few weeks ago, when Corbynmania was at its peak, I asked The Sun Political Editor who he predicted will win and his answer was Yvette Copper will win it on the second ballot. If that happens, she will make history for her Party.

As for Liz Kendall, I am sorry, but her campaign never got off the starting blocks. It seems she was finished before she even started. However, as the newest MP of the four candidates she is in a good position for next time. In my opinion, the three things she should take from this race is to pace herself like Cooper, stay visible throughout like Burnham, but most of all be real and authentic like Corbyn and do it all with genuine passion.

Like Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn speaks human and does it from the heart. He is an ordinary approachable decent guy who answers all the questions asked, and does it without any airs and graces. Will he win? If he wins can he lead the party? Can he win a General Election? I don’t know. He probably can. I don’t think so. But what I do know for sure last general election, everybody predicted and expected one thing and the outcome was another thing altogether. Either way it’s not long to go now.

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Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn......

Posted 22 Aug 2015 by Walaa Idris

Jeremy Corbyn

These days, all we hear, reed and watch is Jeremy Corbyn this and Jeremy Corbyn that. Form total obscurity in a few short months he is now the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of politics, understandably some love him while others loath him. For me his politics is very peculiar but then he won’t lead me or my party and if in September he wins the Labour Party leadership contest I will do everything in my power to see he never leads this great country.

Having said that, I, a Tory, cannot understand what Labour is doing to itself! They seem to be tearing chunks off each other because Corbyn (who a few months ago almost did not get enough Labour MPs to nominate him to stand for this contest) is now ahead in every poll.

But isn’t this democracy?

Not according to Andy Burnham and Liz Kendell.

Corbyn, a straight talker who doesn’t hold back, unlike most modern politicians, has a knack for answering every question put to him and engages easily with reports and people from all walks of life. He is a calm mature looking and behaving decent man, who holds very, very strong socialist beliefs. It seems this and his willingness to engage has struck a chord with many, plus his politics are a hit with the left. Same as Sarah Palin and Nigel Farage before him were on the right, as a result of that he is ahead and the Blairites don’t like it one bit.

As an outsider, I see why Blair, Mandelson, Brown, Campbell and Labourites of their ilk don’t like him. His leadership will take the party further left back to its pre-New Labour days. However, some would say a Corbyn leadership will bring Labour back home, to its rightful place.

My late father used to say “anger is man’s biggest enemy, because it clouds judgment.” And that is what I see happening with Labour. The New Labour types are angry and panicking that their beloved project is in danger of being axed. Sadly, in their fright and fury they lost sight of the bigger picture.

Jeremy Corbyn, like Farage and Palin, given time sooner rather than later will go away, because when it comes down to it what matters to most people is bread and butter issues not what sounds and feels good.

Take his latest promise. He said if elected leader he will apologise for the Iraq War. Now, who in their right mind will say that? When there is an ongoing independent enquiry into the matter. Secondly, does he really think Blair, Brown and Cameron did not consider offering an apology and ramifications of that offer? Or does he think he is the only person who sees the wrong in that war?

Furthermore, did he even consider what an apology by a leader and potential a PM might means? Apologising for the Iraq War is a slap on the face to our Armed Forces and disrespects all the men and women who fought in it. An apology might vindicate those who marched against the war, but it will dishonour the memory of those who gave their lives, their limps, their sanity and mental well-being to that war. An apology might feel good to some, but its implication and legacy are dire to those who were sent to fight it.

After two consecutive defeats, the last thing the Labour Party needs is to talk to itself, especially when it should be showing the public what a Labour government can offer them. And, explain how it can be different. It needs to show how a Labour administration can create better jobs, leave more money in peoples’ pockets, give children a better education and makes us all happier and healthier.

It seems the biggest fear the Blairites now have is Corbyn winning the leadership. As a result they are doing everything to stop him, accusing outsider infiltration, discrediting him and putting doubt in their own electoral system, all in hopes to put a stop to this election. While failing to realise that what they are doing is discrediting the whole Labour Party and making all of us ask: How can Labour run Britain if it can’t manage a simple leadership election?

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