I was not at all surprised when I first heard that Baroness Warsi has tendered her resignation. After all, she had been demoted in the last government re-shuffle and over-looked for promotion in the recent re-shuffle whilst other female MPs did get promoted. Rumours of her being sacked have also been circulating for a while and numerous Conservative MPs have commented on her incompetence and unsuitability for senior posts.
However, I was surprised to learn that she used the Gaza issue as an excuse to resign and even more surprised that most people actually fell for it. In her resignation letter, she claimed the British government’s policy towards the Israeli offensive in Gaza was “morally indefensible” and could lead to the radicalisation of British Muslims. There are a number of reasons why I found this cynical exploitation of the Gaza issue for personal and petty political gain hard to fathom.
Firstly, the British government doesn’t have much of a policy towards Israel-Palestine these days, or much of a coherent policy towards other conflicts in the region. We are living through an era of declining British influence on the global stage, hence short of issuing a few strongly worded statements and promising to review relations and trade agreements, there is little more Britain can do. Israel does not rely on Britain for aid or for imports and can manage without our diplomatic support too.
Secondly, a tentative ceasefire has now been agreed and de-escalation of the conflict is on the horizon, so it seems an odd time to resign, especially since her only gripe seems to be that government condemnations weren’t harsh enough. Surely if she cared about Gaza that much she would be aware that she has more chance of influencing government statements from within the cabinet rather than from the backbenches. She was also free to issue her own strong statements as a government representative, which she did using Twitter.
Thirdly, Warsi sat in government at a time when our response to the civil war in Syria, which has claimed over 160,000 lives, has also been inadequate whilst we have done very little to prevent the rise of ISIS in Iraq which has now killed thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as non-Muslim minority groups. This is also a government that has done very little about the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, Uighur Muslims in China and recent civil strife in Libya. At the same time it has increased aid to a Pakistani government that is ignoring targeted assassination campaigns against Shias, Ahmadis and Christians whilst waging military campaigns in Baluchistan and the FATA region. This is not whataboutery, it is an attempt to frame her Gaza excuse in a much broader context of government inaction and inadequacy over a range of foreign policy issues that did seem to affect her commitment to the government.
Fourthly, Warsi worked in the Department for Communities and Local Government which was tasked with developing a counter-extremism strategy. In spite of offering to deliver one three years ago, this department has done very little to produce such a strategy and little in the way of counter-extremism work. Therefore, one can be forgiven for treating her concerns about radicalisation with a little scepticism.
Whilst the British government could have been more critical about events in Gaza, it is clear to me that her departure also owes much to her resentment over her stalled ministerial career. According to Conservative insider Paul Goodman:
[blockquote style=”2″]“It would have been clear long before the reshuffle that the Warsi experiment had failed: her removal as Chairman may have marked the point of no return. It is no secret that some near the top of the Party wanted a solution last month that would have been best for all concerned – namely, for Warsi to leave the Government then. Such a move would have avoided today’s resignation. But Cameron would have felt himself in no position to act. Warsi hasn’t denied claims that she is keeping a diary. He will have feared that he would be damned, were she dismissed, by pre-election publication unfairly claiming that his leadership is tainted by tokenism and anti-Muslim prejudice. The irony is that he is now open to exactly this possibility. He has been brought to a place to which his own decisions have taken him.”[/blockquote]
Followers of the South Asian political scene would perhaps be familiar with this kind of sly and manipulative political manoeuvring that sadly characterises everything Warsi does. There are no sacred cows as far as she is concerned and even the suffering of the poor Palestinians can be instrumentalised for the sake of her fledging career.
Rather than being a role-model she has introduced a slice of corrupt and mendacious South Asian politics to the UK and we are all much worse off as a consequence.
wht will be the impact of Saeeda Warsi resignation on the UK is at least not important for me, more important is that a a Paki British lady (who had an impressive credential in UK cabinet) has raised her voice for Gaza. She has the more courage and Gigara than most of our Arab male leaders . She has listened to the voice of her conscience and stood up for muslims. We must not forget that this brave lady hv put an extra efforts in promoting Pak British relation. She couldn’t force the British Govt so hv done wht she could done on an individual base. Hats off to this lady……….is all about negative critcism….what u hv done for syria how many columns hv u written for them
Irrelevant, fully biased and shallow analysis … if you cannot raise your voice against the atrocities then at-least keep silent and don’t judge others’ intentions. Learn to prioritize and contextualize your commentary.. V shameful!!
What kind of ****** is this? The British are way more moral than you guys. The biggest protest against Israel was recorded in London. George Galloway and Warsi are pioneers for raising awareness in West regarding Gaza conflict. They have done more for the cause of Palestine then your ****** leaders and lame and lazy awaam combined!!!
This writer should be kicked in the ***** so to understand what bullshit he has written