At this very moment, former Prime Minister David Cameron is leaving Buckingham Palace after formally giving his resignation to Her Majesty, while the new leader of the Conservative party Theresa May is about to be summoned to create a new government with herself at the helm.
It’s only hours after a very emotional last Prime Minister Questions on BBC Parliament, full of laughter and held-back (sort of…) tears from those of us who are in the party because of him and his vision (#GenerationCameron).
But just after enough time to wipe away the smeared mascara, my dear friend Helen made a remark on Twitter. “Tory women in my lifetime; successful divorce lawyers, leader of the Scot Tories, Prime Minister. Showing me my dreams are achievable. It’s so strange, I’ve never felt more determined and confident I can achieve what I want in life.”
We all know the story of Margaret Thatcher, but by the time I could walk she was already out of no10. I’m very different from Helen in many respects (not our love of shoes, lipsticks and
cute Tory MPs) so I wasn’t expecting this, but it feels very different when it’s happening in front of your eyes.
I’ve never been one for requiring female role models to believe that I could get anywhere I wanted. I would read novels without paying attention to the fact the protagonist was a boy or a girl, and I have a life-long-held belief that it’s what you have inside that matters. I’ve always dreamt big, and I haven’t faced any barriers that would make me dream any smaller. Or if I did I just didn’t care. There are many things in which I am extremely insecure but as someone who bagged an interview among 10 out of 200 people for an accounting job in a branding agency with no accounting experience or attitude for it, I’d say career isn’t normally one of them. Although, at this stage of my entrepreneurial journey, impostor syndrome is knocking on the door quite loudly.
Being a woman for me has always been an accident of birth which meant excruciating pain a few days a month, the potential for motherhood, an eating disorder because I just hate my body shape, and high heels.
And yet, today, I can’t help but noticing how similar I am to the person who will reside at no10 Downing Street from now on. Tory, check. Christian, check. Woman, check. Likes leopard print shoes, check.
We also share a passion for social justice that has driven her greatest achievement in the Home Office, the Modern Slavery Bill.
Arguably I have a lot in common with the PM in Love Actually, and he was a man and Hugh Grant while at it, but it would be blindly ideological anti-feminism to ignore the positive encouragement that comes from seeing my party put two women at the helm of a queen’s government and “without a pink bus in sight”.
I’m a Tory because I believe in aspiration. I believe in meritocracy. I believe that your chances in life shouldn’t be determined by who you are and where you were born. I want an equitable society where we empower people to become the best they can be, and help them achieve what they want. No quotas or anything to prove. Just individual flourishing.
As much as it sounds great on paper that you don’t need a role model to look like you to inspire you to greatness, seeing someone like you actually getting there proves the point beyond reasonable doubt. And I’m not indifferent to that.
It’s been my opinion since the 24th of June that the incumbent PM would struggle to survive Brexit, but I hope I’m proven wrong, and that if I will have a daughter, she’ll grow up to see a woman at the helm of her country so that she will believe me when I tell her “Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it”, to use the words of someone who “was the future once”.
All uncredited quotes are from David Cameron’s farewell speech in the House of Commons.