Country before Party

Posted 11 Oct 2017 by Walaa Idris

PM Theresa May

In 2016, choosing a leadership candidate was very easy. I am a Leaver, and at the time I thought the only leader that can deliver Brexit and the best outcome for our nation is a Leaver, so my choice was Andrea Leadsom. Whom I got to know a little when I was a parliamentary candidate. We all know what happened then and like any loyal Conservative I accepted the outcome and fell behind my new leader, encouraged by her message of hope I was optimistic.

Though not my choice, in time I warmed to the Prime Minister. She struck me as a woman who knew her mind and a person who ‘believed what said and said what she believed.’ Then a few month later she called that election. Calling the election was not the problem. The problem to me was going back on her word, after affirming many, many times that she won’t call a snap election.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no issue with people changing their mind. I do it all the time, and think changing one’s mind out of necessity or clarity is rather healthy. Just this weekend, I went for a family meal and had a choice of beer, Mojito or Prosecco with my big brunch set meal. After tossing over beer or Mojito, for a good 5 minutes, I ordered the later, yet after just two sips I changed my mind a third time and swapped it for the Prosecco. Now, that change of mind is acceptable, buying a pair of shoes, taking them home and a week later returning them because you no longer like them as much is acceptable. But telling voters and the world, in more than on occasion, you will not call an election then do in a matter of months is a big deal. Because it goes to trust, stability and that old adage of ‘saying what you mean and meaning what you say.’

That is why, when yesterday, in her LBC radio interview with Iain Dale, Theresa May refused to answer which way she will vote if the referendum is rerun, I was comforted and delighted.

So far, May, who wasn’t my preferred candidate, bar that snap election, has shown she is the best choice and has been a superb and sound leader. Dare I say, she is actually the best person for this post. The job of negotiating leaving the EU and putting up with the bullying of Brussels not to mention the relentless abuse from the opposition, celebrity Remainers and even some Leavers. Through it all she showed some guts.

Mrs May is primarily the Prime Minister of the UK. That means, even though Brexit is a priority, she is the head of the 52% that wanted to leave but also the 48% that didn’t. And, by not siding with either she just proved that she puts Britain’s interest ahead of her personal choice. To me that is the sign of a just leader.

It is for that reason I was shocked by those who misunderstood her refusal and started attacking her for it. Particularly those who call themselves Conservatives. Because attacking Theresa May will only weaken her and our stance as a nation in the world stage while strengthen the opposition.

To my fellow Conservatives, May is still the best and only viable leader for our party and the country. I don’t believe in hard or soft Brexit. To me Brexit is just leaving the EU with all its institutions. We don’t want a Canadian Deal, a Swiss or a Norwegian Deal, what we are seeking is a British deal that suits the UK and its unique makeup. Mrs May understands that and from the very beginning promised she will deliver what the country voted for despite herself voting to Remain.

So, let’s forget about what we personally want, and focus on what is best for our country, our children and the future generations. I didn’t want May to lead us, but she has proved to be a good leader. She admitted her mistake so let’s give her the respect and support she needs, unite behind her and stand strong against those who want derail Brexit.


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Brexit is here to stay

Posted 10 Nov 2016 by Walaa Idris

Brexit 3

Guess I am lucky in that my side won the referendum. Last June I voted to Leave the EU and unexpectedly found myself on the winning side. It was sweet and delicious. On the night, for all of three seconds, I did gloat a bit, but it didn’t last long. To starter with, it took time for our own win to register, and secondly I didn’t have the heart to celebrate when most Remainers in the hall were beside themselves with grieve over the results. Many were in tears and hysterical with shock. I simply could not carry on enjoying our win, when boys and girls my daughters’ age wretchedly sobbed at the same result. It didn’t at all feel right to be jubilant when the others were so miserable, after all, they are my people too.

On the night of the Referendum I was a count agent. That’s how involved I was with Brexit. For months, I spent my spare time leafleting, knocking on doors and ringing voters. On the day, after spending the afternoon and evening getting out the vote, I went to Kensington and Chelsea town hall for the count. At around 5 o’clock the following morning I left feeling victorious and full of hope for a brighter and stronger future. I was sure by then that our side has won, but was still shocked when it was confirmed and very saddened when David Cameron resigned that morning.

So, I hear you ask why is she sharing this now? I am doing it to make a point. Leave winning the referendum was not just a stroke of luck. We, Leavers worked very, very hard and most of the time did it with little or no resources. As a political activist who when campaigning for the party money was rarely an object. I saw first-hand how frustrating it can be to run an important campaign on a shoestring budget. Shoestring by comparison to having a mighty government machine behind you. Still, it was all worth it.

Working in the Vote Leave campaign has humbled and taught me passion and conviction are a currency to rival all currencies. We might not have had Whitehall to back us, as cliché as it might sound, we had a huge appetite and strongly believed in our cause. We unequivocally trusted (and still do) that the UK is better and stronger outside the EU. We had no doubt that we rather go it alone and take full control of our laws, borders and decision making. People all over the world understood our fight. They respected it and us for swimming against the trend. They saw Brexit as the will of the people, the voice of the ordinary man and woman, and admired us for it. They saw in us what we saw during the Arab Spring – the voiceless fighting for a voice.

Brexit and leaving the European Union is not being misguided. On the contrary it is being bold and brave. It is being full of hope and optimism for Britain and wanting what’s best for her. It is not being afraid to go for what we want. It is being respected and admired for fighting for our values and now even copied and emulated with the election of Donald J Trump. Our desire to run our own affairs from the inside, with little or no interference from Brussels is applauded.

We have nothing against Europe, we love Europe, but not the EU and everybody saw and understood that.

However, if you listen to the Blairs and Cleggs of the country, Brexit is nothing but a disaster. A huge mistake, an injustice inflicted on the country by the ignorant and the uneducated. Perpetrated by the Riff-Raff who don’t know what’s good for them. Thus, it must be challenged in the courts and if possible reversed. Yes, reversed! The will of the majority reversed because the elite minority do not agree with it! Does that remind you of anything or anyone? It does me. I grow up in an autocracy where elections were won by 99.99% and those who openly did not accept the outcome were thrown in prison. Are we there yet? Of course, not, but the hypocrisy and disrespect to democracy are not dissimilar.

We’re in November now. The referendum is five months old. Five months seems like a long enough time for the grieving to have subsided somewhat and for the healing process to begin. Can we now put our differences behind us and focus in what unites us? Regardless of what any side thinks or wants, the country voted to leave the EU. The process of leaving is lengthy and rigorous. In my opinion, all energies used in attempting to reverse Brexit are wasted, because we are leaving.

We have until the end of March 2017 to trigger Article 50 and start the official process of vacating our seat. Brussels wants us to get on with it. They are as good as waving us goodbye and want the whole thing finished as soon as possible. The rest of the world does too. Our economy and currency need it as well. Yet, the Blairs and Cleggs of the country still can’t accept the democratic outcome!

My questions to them and their cronies, you say you care about Britain and want what’s best for her, then when are you going to put your hand on ours and work together to create the strongest Brexit? When will you realise that time wasted in fighting the inevitable is counterproductive and will only damage the UK?

We all want what’s best for our country, together we can achieve it.


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Brexit ruling!

Posted 6 Nov 2016 by Walaa Idris

High Court

On Thursday, three High Court judges ruled government and the Prime Minister cannot bypass Parliament in trigging Article 50. The government replied by appealing the ruling in the Supreme Court. The outcome of that appeal is due early January 2017.

Must admit that I am not versed in the law, but I believed it was the government’s job to negotiate treaties. This morning, my thinking was confirmed by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the Marr show, when he told Andrew Marr “Parliament passes laws, it always has, but governments negotiate treaties. And, the reason that Parliament can’t negotiate treaties is you can’t decide an international treaty by a simple vote of MPs.”

Since the referendum vote earlier this year, feelings and emotions have been running high and voters on both sides are anxious and untrusting of one another. Leavers think Remainers will do everything to overturn the result of the referendum and some prominent Remainers are promising to do just that.

I fully understand as a parliamentary democracy MPs are our representatives and voice in the Commons. Let’s not forget that, they voted 6 to 1 in favour of an EU Referendum. And, even though treaty negotiation is not their brief, this treaty is a game changer that will have a profound effect in our nation. Therefore, it makes perfect sense they want to know and debate its points before triggering Article 50. On the other hand, Brussels made it very clear, in more than one occasion that there will be no discussion or talk regarding any deal until Article 50 is triggered.

Now, that creates a problem!

How can over 600 MPs (most of whom are Remainers) for 90 seconds each debate and add amendments, yet keep our negotiating hand secret? How can the government keep our thinking hidden from Brussels without withholding most of the negotiations form the Commons? If that happens, then what’s the point of Parliament debating Article 50?

Also, let’s not forget those Remainers who made clear their intentions to do all they can to derail Brexit either in the Commons or via the Lords! That is very damaging. It threatens our democracy and its fabric at its core. The will of the people should not be ignored and a wealthy businesswoman who is unwilling to accept the outcome of the referendum should not be allowed to dictate the destiny of Britain. Gina Miller wants the British people to admire and be her biggest fan because in her mind she saw “the elephant in the room and created a legal certainty!”


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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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