By George Curley
As the election times of next year begin to brew in the minds of the public and politicians, yesterday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reorganised his cabinet in the spirit of staunch reinforcement of his fragmented Conservative Party. They will go head-to-head against Keir Starmer’s Labour Party next summer.
The first name out of the team sheet? Home Secretary: Suella Braverman.
This is following her political fire-piece in The Times, wherein she actively defied the Metropolitan Police and their methods when handling protests, claiming that they take a ‘tougher stance’ with right-wing demonstrations.
Also, per Braverman, there is a perception that senior officers ‘play favourites’ and are more lenient to pro-Palestine and left-wing marches, and there are strong ‘double standards’, so her dismissal should come as no surprise, but in a way, it sort of is.
In what is only the latest in inflammatory comments by the recently removed Home Secretary, she was accused by the opposition party as well as Tory ministers of ‘stoking tension’ in her article, which was published on Thursday the 9th of November, just two days before Remembrance Saturday, a day where, traditionally, the country participates in a minute silence to remember soldiers that fought in both world wars.
Timing is everything in politics and you would think that a seasoned – now former – Home Secretary would know this.
The reason I say this is because, on the same day as her publication, just hours after it, there was a reactionary ‘call to arms’ by far-right activist Tommy Robinson and the EDL, otherwise known as the English Defence League. This kind of activity is synonymous with violence, and historically people have come in great numbers from across the country to assemble for various socio-political reasons.
Either they had this planned before Braverman’s article, which is very much a possibility – or she lit the blue touchpaper of the nation’s far-right, so to speak.
This time, the march was to supposedly ‘defend the Cenotaph’, which is a war memorial monument located in the epicentre of the country’s capital. This was widely interpreted as a figurative counter-protest to the proposed pro-Palestine marches that were rumoured to take place on the same day.
On the Saturday, the marches quickly evolved into riots, and so forth violence ensued. As a result of this, officers made 145 arrests, of whom were mostly far-right counter-protestors, and nine officers were injured in the process of preventing this same group from reaching the monument they assured they were going to protect.
These same officers, have claimed that the week of intense debate about policing and protest combined to ‘increase community tensions.’
Furthermore, Sir Peter Fahy, the former chief constable of Greater Manchester, agreed with the officers involved: “Calling the police biased against right-wing extremists encouraged them and subsequently created conditions where it stoked up anger.”
The Braverman situation is volatile, and she’s being largely blamed for the commotion that occurred this past weekend, however, two high-profile Tory backbenchers, who are pro-Braverman, have discredited Rishi Sunak, who made the decision to get rid of Braverman, accusing him of ‘walking away from voters who gave Tories their large majority in 2019’, an opinion of which several Conservative voters hold.
Namely, MP Miriam Kates and MP Danny Kruger, both of whom co-chair a new socially conservative group: The New Conservative’s… who would’ve guessed it? In their statement, they didn’t mention Braverman directly, just their withering support of the current government.
Braverman has a track record now, as this is the second time that’s she’s been removed from her position as Home Secretary, after her brief stint whilst in the short-lived Liz Truss’ cabinet.
The reasoning for her first sacking was quite different from now, as she was caught sending ministerial documents. I’m not quite sure what’s worse when considered, document subterfuge or being the catalyst of capital-cored melee on one of the most solemn days in the nation’s history.
In a near future, Braverman could go three for three.
Maybe Sunak will reinstate her as Home Secretary, wait for a couple of months, and sack her again – the Braverman 3-peat.
In the coming weeks, expect to see a myriad of old and new faces going into No 10 after the recent cabinet restructure. In fact, go and check out Claudia’s summary of one of those returning faces: David Cameron.