Adam Afriyie: The man who would be…PM
Forget about UKIP leader Nigel Farage, or even the darling of the Conservative Right, Mayor Boris Johnson, it is the Conservative’s first MP of African descent Adam Afriyie, who has been tipped by conspirators to topple David Cameron.
Whether or not this is wild speculation or a serious manoeuvre to dislodge the PM, one thing is for sure it is the first time in British history that a Black person has been talked about as Prime Minister in this way.
There are a number of factors at play here: Rupert Murdoch now hates Cameron; The Leverson Inquiry has at least in the short term dented Murdoch's reputation, and he clearly blames the PM. It is no surprise that Murdoch’s new best political friend is now Boris Johnson. The European question has the potential to once again split the Conservatives. This coupled with the UK entering a triple dip recession invariable leaves the PM vulnerable to attack.
Who then might appeal to disaffected Tories? Adam Afriyie.
In many ways Afriyie, not unlike Margret Thatcher appeals right across the Tory spectrum. Like Thatcher, he’s not from the Eton/Oxbridge elite. His story from a Peckham council estate to a reported 100 million fortune is even more dramatic than her ‘shop keeper’s daughter’ narrative. The quintessential Conservative story of hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and endeavor is wonderfully told through the prism of Adam Afriyie. The fact that he happens to be Black too just adds another dimension to the tale.
Right now, his aides are testing the political water. They can be pleased with the response so far. There are few that have a mean word to say about Afriyie, which might be in his favor, but it also may be detrimental to him in the medium term too.
Yes, people like Afriyie. He particularly stood out as one of the wealthy who unofficially declared that affluent MPs should not be claiming expenses, unlike his duck moat colleague. But what does Afriyie stand for? Can he appeal beyond the Tory heartland?
One thing is for sure Afriyie has, in one audacious swoop, moved the Party dramatically forward: In a frenzied 24hr conversation about who might be the next Conservative Leader and Prime Minister, Adam’s colour/ race seems, if anything, to be an advantage not a detriment.
Did I just write that?