Did you go “Wow!” when David Cameron became Foreign Secretary in Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle? Chris Mason, the BBC News political editor, did so three times on the World at One yesterday. Mason was not alone in putting personality ahead of politics. Most of the headlines looked at Cameron’s return in simplistic terms of whether or not it would help Sunak at the next election. Tory MPs were quoted welcoming the return of ‘professionalism’ and a move away from far right populism to centre right conservatism.
None of our professional media pundits made the point that this was a victory for the anti war movement in this country. It was left to Simon Fletcher @fletchersimon to point out that
Had the organisers of Saturday’s march cancelled it, as the police requested, under pressure from Braverman, she should would have got what she wanted and she’d still be a member of the government.https://x.com/fletchersimon/status/1723997841306046568?s=20
There would have been a reshuffle of sorts anyway because so many junior ministers are resigning ahead of their expected defeat at the next general election so they can begin the process of feathering their nests now and lining up jobs in the private sector. The latest spin on Sky News is to pretend that Braverman was sacked over calling homelessness a lifestyle choice and not because she took on a peace movement that refused to be silenced or cowed.
She may have been the standard bearer for the hate campaign. But do not expect the new Home Secretary, James Cleverley, to change policy. Sunak has already indicated more draconian measures to outlaw provocative banners and chants on demonstrations in a legal gagging order on Palestine’s supporters. He wants a culture war in Britain to divert attention from his government’s continuing support for Israel in their genocidal assault on Gaza and the fresh Nakba in the occupied territories on the West Bank. Labour traitor John Woodcock, now Lord Walney and the government’s Adviser on Political Violence & Disruption, is proposing legal changes that will let the police ban pro Palestine marches because of their cumulative impact on the Jewish community without a scrap of evidence that there is any. Or any thought for the cumulative impact of being bombed non-stop for 35 days.
Of course, they also forget the thousands of Jews who joined marches to call for a ceasefire now in Gaza and to express their solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Will Cameron’s appointment as Foreign Secretary mitigate against this? After all, when he visited Turkey as prime minister in 2010 he said, “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.” He also opposed illegal settlements while remaining “a friend of Israel”. So expect more of the same: fine words and no deeds as the government continues with business as usual.
We can expect Labour to attack Cameron over his dodgy business deals since he left office and his even dodgier foreign policy decisions as prime minister. Even Obama described his bungling efforts in Libya before and after the fall of Gaddafi as ‘a shit show’. But they are unlikely to challenge him on behalf of Palestine. Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary, was doing the media rounds on Monday, defending Israel’s right to bomb hospitals. Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, thinks there is a moral equivalence between supporters of Palestine and the far right goons who rampaged through London on Armistice Day.
We cannot rely on a change of cabinet or even a change of government to change the world. The strength, the solidarity, the love that brought together one million people to challenge hate on Armistice Day represents our best hope for the future.
Life long socialist. Now retired, I have been an office junior, a bookseller, a docker and a teacher. I write a lot and read a lot more. Committed member of the Society of Authors, English PEN and the National Education Union. Never voting Labour again.