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Braverman’s dilemma

The Home Secretary was in an impossible situation, with Number 10 wanting the rhetoric of action without the substance

Artillery Row

I stopped working for Suella Braverman a year ago, so I don’t know exactly how that Times article got submitted without the changes made by No.10. Although as an aside, getting a speech or article signed off by everyone who needs to see it, is possibly one of the worst tasks Special Advisors have to do in Government, in a very crowded field.

There seems to have been two main criticisms of Suella. One is that she’s all talk and no action. A Minister who can’t get to grips with the job so needs to up the rhetoric in order to compensate. Can’t stop the boats? Say that some of the people on board are criminals. Can’t stop a pro Palestine march through central London? Call it a hate march.

I think it’s fair to say we haven’t seen, or heard, the end of Suella yet

For the right of the Conservative Party, they would have been happy if she just got on and did something. Stopped the boats, with her bare hands if necessary, instead of just talking about it. But that’s manifestly impossible with the Prime Minister we’ve got. Imagine if she just got on and did something without express approval from the PM? Perhaps initiating legislation to tear up the ECHR? Double the number of border patrol boats? Fired her Permanent Secretary? Remember she’s just been sacked for writing an article that No.10 wasn’t completely happy with.

The other criticism, mainly from the left, seems to be that she’s dangerously out of control. When words are equal to literal violence, her strong statement on the protests are the equivalent of the Home Secretary walking down Whitehall, grabbing a baton from the nearest Bobby and whacking an innocent Hamas apologist to death. The left of the party would have been happy if she’d just shut up and meekly followed the Prime Minister into electoral defeat. Rishi is okay, and if winning the election means doing something big, like leaving the ECHR or reforming the police, then we must lose. Keir Starmer isn’t so bad is he?

If your politics align with the PM’s, then Suella has been grossly disloyal. I don’t agree, but it’s a valid point of view. But if you agree with what she says, but think she should have turned words into action, then please explain how, with Rishi Sunk as Prime Minister, she could have done more? If your hands are tied, the only thing you’ve got is your voice. And she’s not shy about using that.

Within minutes of the announcement a friend sent me a one word text: “Finally”.

But I think it’s fair to say we haven’t seen, or heard, the end of Suella yet.

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