"Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise" so said Theresa May when she resigned today, quoting Sir Nicholas Winton who saved Jewish children in Germany.
Problem is that she did not compromise when she most needed to.
A 52:48 Brexit vote while clearly indicating Leave also clearly indicated that a compromise was required. And a compromise does not mean you abandon your principles but it does mean trying to find the right solution that works for as many people as possible.
Yesterday I only decided how to vote at the last minute after much thought. In the end I did vote for Syed Kamall, the lead Conservative candidate in London.
1. It would be good for the government of the UK if it had at least one experienced MEP in the European Parliament. Somebody who can report back to the UK government what is happening in Parliament and vice versa.
2. He is a hard-working and experienced MEP with many personal qualities so even though he did not want the job (he is a Leaver) I voted for him.
3. If I had voted Lib-Dem / or Change UK – both options I had considered I would have had to quit as a Conservative Councillor. I did consider it but in Tower Hamlets a political group needs two members, if I quit there would no longer be an opposition group to the overwhelming Labour dominance. That would not be good for TH.
But how could I vote for Remain parties while still believing we need to Leave? And no party offered what I prefer as a compromise, a soft Brexit.
With a leadership election, the long-term future of the party is up for debate. It will force many of us to think about what membership means, the role of the Conservative Party and how it evolves to meet future challenges. But there is also the risk that it goes off at a tangent. But the Conservative Party has a long history of pragmatism (aka a survival instinct) so I hope that kicks in now.
I am thinking about how to steer it in the right direction as the UK needs a sensible, pragmatic, centre right party especially when the Labour party is going left. But for now it is easier for me to define my own red lines at which point my membership of the Party would be in doubt. They are:
1. A ‘no deal’ WTO exit
2. An electoral pact with Farage and the Brexit Party
3. An end to incompetence – too many mistakes are being made both at CCHQ but also at a national policy level as well as in delivery (Home Office/DWP)
As for leaders I like Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and have always respected Michael Gove (the only Leave leader that I do), I wish Ruth Davidson was running. But also interested in seeing what others like Raab have to say before making final judgment as perceptions may not match reality.