The sacking of Britain’s Interior Minister (in US terms a combination of the Attorney General and Homeland Security) has to be looked at in the round. Suella Braverman KC, was sacked by Rishi Sunak after a series of statements made by the Minister that either directly contradicted the Prime Minister or pushed policy way past what he was prepared to accept.
Most particularly she has attacked the very existence of the pro-Palestinian marches (which culminated this Saturday, Armistice day with 300,000 on the streets of London) describing then as “hate marches” in an article in the London Times. She also criticised the behaviour of the police in relation to those marches and other actions in recent years, this was seen as rich as policing is her departmental responsibility. She has also suggested that the homeless living in tents in London was a lifestyle choice when other options are available, and further called for a snap general election if the Government loses (as is expected) its case in the High Court this week.
All this was, to put it politely, well off-piste for one of the country’s senior Ministers. No matter what one thinks about her comments and statements, there is no way that the Prime Minister could not sack her. It was the clearest case of political ‘death by cop’ in decades.
So what on earth was she doing, given it is clear that she was going to get sacked? It is possible that she has believed her own hype. Perhaps she thinks that this will make her a future leader of a post Sunak, right wing Tory party. But it just isn’t going to happen.
On the main issue, that of the pro-Palestine marches and policing her opinions are popular. In a poll last week, banning the marches, in particular the one last weekend that clashed with Armistice day, was supported by 50% of the population. When it comes to partial policing, it is no doubt that the general public has watched aghast as the police paint themselves in rainbows, and take the knee for Black Lives Matter, that they come down heavy handed on women demonstrating about the murder of Sarah Everard, a young woman ‘just walking home’ by a serving police officer, and against those protesting against lockdown restrictions.
To the majority of the public she is right, there is two tier policing. Thousands can chant anti semitic slogans as they march through London with nothing happening, except officers fist-bumping protestors, but the riot squad is brought in to round up those carrying Union Jacks opposing such marches.
However Mrs Braverman is not herself popular, in the country, in Parliament or amongst the few remaining supporters of the conservative party. In a recent survey she merely had a +1 support amongst her own party members. In the House of Commons her self propelled defenestration has hardly raised a ripple. Her supporters as a possible future leader could hardly field a baseball team.
What she must have been hoping for then, is that come the inevitable scorched earth election there will be sufficient destruction amongst Tory ranks that her ‘brave’ stand for common sense will be seen as something noble and the tattered remnants of her party will rally around her flag.
Her statements on X about the marches do indeed chime with the majority opinion in the UK (though not amongst her fellow politicians) and her sacking will be seen by many as a kick in the teeth for those who are prepared to stand up against the wokery of the institutions.
It is hard not to have some sympathy for the position she takes.
‘The sick, inflammatory and, in some cases, clearly criminal chants, placards and paraphernalia openly on display at the march mark a new low. Anti-Semitism and other forms of racism together with the valorising of terrorism on such a scale is deeply troubling.
This can’t go on. Week by week, the streets of London are being polluted by hate, violence, and anti-Semitism.
Members of the public are being mobbed and intimidated. Jewish people in particular feel threatened. Further action is necessary.”
But the point is that she will not benefit from her actions, nor will the hard pressed UK Jewish community. In reality by going over the top she has damaged their position, and her own.
The only people likely to gain right now are outside the Conservative Party. The opposition Labour which cannot believe its luck as the government continues to self immolate. Sunak’s appointment of the former failed PM that is David Cameron to Foreign Minister (Secretary of State) may pick up some votes in the soft centre but will lead to a hemorrhaging of votes on the right to Reform whose opinion polling has already seen a steady growth over the past year.
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