Now that the new PM has been announced, many people have been asking me how I voted. Now, I’m all for the privacy of voting. However, I wanted to use this platform to explain my choice.
Unfortunately, from the beginning of the leadership contest, my preferred candidate didn’t make much progress. But instead of simply spoiling my ballot or not voting, I decided to attend hustings and debates to make a more informed decision.
After weeks of research and listening to all of the candidates, I decided to back Boris Johnson. In these tumultuous times that we are facing as a nation, I believe that a strong leader, who is assertive, needs to be the face and voice for this great country. Boris Johnson, has faced a multitude of criticisms to say the least, but I feelt like the way forward was to judge candidates on their policies, leadership qualities and their previous record.
Delving into Johnson's opponent Jeremy Hunt’s past as health secretary (somehow the longest serving in history) shows that he completely and utterly failed the NHS. Although I have respect for Hunt’s honesty and sincerity in the way that he handled the debates and portrayed himself in the media, the quite transparent sleaze campaign by the media against Boris wasn’t enough to push me to camp 'Has to be Hunt'.
Having many doctors in my family, I was able to see first-hand the damage that Hunt had caused. He refused to meet junior doctors to negotiate in talks. This hardly screams 'the man who can negotiate and sit down to talk with EU leaders'. Although he has expressed regret over the junior doctors’ dispute, I’m afraid it is too little, too late. People focus a lot on Johnson’s past mistakes in delivering false historical information throughout his journalism career, but isn’t delivering misinterpreted death figures to justify Hunt’s own idea of a seven-day NHS even worse? Hunt, if he had won the contest, would not have been able to get the NHS back on side. He left a legacy where NHS figures were the “worst on record”, leading to three times more patients waiting over four hours to be seen.
It is extremely easy to gloss over Hunt’s history because Johnson’s is more scandalous or interesting to read, but real lives were affected - and this is vital when deciding who gets the job.
In addition to this, Brexit, of course, is the most prevalent issue of our time. Johnson has been a Brexiteer from the beginning and we need someone who believed in the cause strongly enough to lead it. Johnson has also had many successes socially, being far more liberal than many other Conservatives. As Mayor of London, he stated that “same sex couples shouldn’t be denied the happy state of marriage”, and showed his support with his involvement in London Pride 2008. During his time as Mayor, the crime rate fell from 22 per million to 12 per million.
Johnson also had many other successes as Mayor of London, including building more affordable homes than his successor, and introducing 'Boris Bikes' which has helped impressive changes with transport and infrastructure, still prevalent with its legacy today. Compared to his predecessor, Johnson also froze council tax precept for two years running, whereas Livingstone increased his tax of council tax by a staggering 153%. Johnson emulates exactly what the Conservative Party needs. In siding with democracy and helping it flourish, with restoring its status as the Party of the working class, and the party of meritocracy. This can be seen evidently in Johnson’s promise to slash VAT and make fewer people pay national insurance, clearly taking action for those with decreased purchasing power.
As Foreign Secretary, it can’t be avoided that Johnson did have mishaps in saying the wrong thing. However, I genuinely do believe that a lot of this is an act, and the media falls for it every time. Our new PM is actually extremely clever in playing the media exactly how he wants to, pretending he’s not as skilful in his job as he actually is.
Boris Johnson has the “star quality” that a PM right now needs. He is a PM who believes in Brexit and one who can return Britain back to its rightful place on the international stage. His sheer force of personality, optimism and charm is exactly what the country needs right now. He is someone who believes in the UK and how great it can be, and someone who can respect the democratic will of the people, and be completely willing to follow it through.
Therefore, I fully back Boris as our new PM, because he backs Britain every time.