The Conservative Party is selecting its candidate for next year’s mayoral elections in London. And Conservatives for Liberty is backing Syed Kamall.
Quite simply, Syed Kamall is everything the party needs to become.
Lots of people have asked me if I am favouring a candidate for mayor, and then they have asked me why I think we should choose Syed Kamall. I have a long list of reasons, and to avoid boring the questioner with them all, I pull out a different reason depending on who they are.
For my non-political friends, I say this: Syed is a Londoner. He lives & breathes this city and experiences it in the same way as the rest of us. He understand the pressures Londoners are under in terms of housing, public transport, crime and all the rest. Syed is a hard worker, and you won’t find anyone better placed to stand up for ordinary Londoners.
And, I tell them, you know how politicians – however much I like & respect many of them – are not quite normal? Syed is. Syed is a normal, approachable, friendly person who thinks about the world like normal people. Yes, he also an accomplished and impressive character, but his perspective is not from the outside looking down; his politics are rooted in the real world.
When it’s a free-market thinker or a libertarian doing the asking, I say this: Syed believes in freedom. Those fundamentals of low tax, small government, and the power of markets? That’s him. That’s what he believes.
But he is more than that, too. Firstly, his free market thinking is not about how things work in theory – he has business experience, knows the real challenges entrepreneurs face, and understands how government gets in the way.
Secondly, Syed is a practical man. Not for him rigid ideologies and distant aspirations. He is about real, practical change within the structures he works. Sometimes that change is only incremental, but with Syed Kamall as Mayor of London, you know the change will always be moving in the right direction. And before you know it, those small, incremental changes will have added up to something pretty radical.
For the strategists in our ranks – those people whose main focus is to win, many of whom think Zac Goldsmith has the better chance of reaching out to non-Tories – I say this: look at Zac. Look at Syed. And then look at London.
I don’t want to write a negative piece or attack Zac, but he does not represent or appeal to Londoners. Sure, he might attract a few second preference votes from environmentalists (though I think Green voters are more likely to go to Labour), but they will not be substantial enough to change the direction of the election.
Syed, on the other hand, will help us reach new people. He will get people who have never considered us before – or who have dismissed us as Tory Toffs – to take another look. Syed looks & sounds like London, and he doesn’t look or sound like the stereotypical Tory. He manages to break the stereotype at the same time as articulating our fundamental Conservative values.
Many of this group say “but people know who Zac Goldsmith is. They recognise him”. I say you need to get out of your bubble. Yes, Zac may be marginally better known than Syed, but the average person on the street knows neither. Zac is no Boris Johnson character with appearances on HIGNY and the like. Stop kidding yourselves.
When it comes to the campaign, I know I can knock on any door in London and have a good chance of ‘selling’ Syed. But I also know it would be a much more difficult task – and largely a waste of time – to try ‘selling’ Zac in many parts of London. Syed reaches beyond the doughnut, Zac confines us to it.
To the average Conservative Party member, I say this: what do you think our party should be? What do you think we should be working towards? How do you think we should relate to the general public?
I think our party should look like Britain. I think our party should speak like Britain, and care about the things that ordinary people care about. I think our party should articulate a vision that shows how life can be better for everyone. And I think we should get on with implementing the practical solutions that help people – by pulling government out of the way, making government work better, and supporting people to create their own solutions.
Most of the time I think that those desires are a long way off. That there’s a lot to change first. But when it comes to Syed, we’re already there; he is already all of those things.
Conservatives for Liberty is backing Syed Kamall for Mayor of London because he represents all of the reasons why we are Conservatives. At a time when we are fighting hard for the future direction of our party, Syed is already everything that we want in our politicians.
Syed is a smart, hard working public servant who speaks like a normal person. He knows London. He has the ideas and the manner to persuade Londonders to look again at the Conservative Party. And he has the competency to deliver for London. Please vote for him.
The Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of London is being selected in an online primary. If you live in London, register here to vote for him.
If you feel as passionately about this as we do, sign up to support Syed Kamall’s campaign.