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Theatrics on the Global Stage: Lord Cameron's Swagger Can't Rescue Rishi Sunak

Sunday, 19 November 2023 10:53 Lifestyle

In the curious theater of political appointments, Lord Cameron's recent elevation to the world stage has left many puzzled observers searching for motives beyond the obvious. The traditional avenues for former prime ministers, such as an easy seat in the House of Lords, seem inadequate explanations, as do financial incentives given Cameron's well-padded post-Downing Street coffers.

Dismissive of the notion that his aspirations are rooted in a lengthy tenure at the Foreign Office, skeptics, including George Osborne and other associates of Cameron, claim his return is propelled by an altruistic yearning for "public service." However, such noble proclamations are met with a healthy dose of skepticism, likened to peddling a miraculous elixir promising eternal life.

According to the inner circle, Cameron's alleged weariness in political exile and the desire for a more engaging existence prompted his reappearance on the global stage. Yet, the notion that ennui serves as a suitable qualification for high office is met with raised eyebrows. The prevailing theory suggests a deeper motive – an attempt to rewrite the narrative of a disgraced premier, scrubbing away the stains of scandal that tarnished his leadership.

The spotlight, however, extends beyond Cameron to Rishi Sunak, who, in an eyebrow-raising move, appointed an unelected foreign secretary. The buzzwords of "experience," "grownup," and "heavy-hitter" emanating from Number 10 imply a Cabinet of juvenile lightweights, leaving political circles and pundits in search of profound meanings.

For some, the return of Cameron symbolizes a betrayal of the red wall, an outcry from Brexity Tories. Others see it as a shift toward the center, a sentiment embraced by moderates who may have conveniently forgotten Cameron's tenure marked by rough austerity veiled beneath a smooth exterior. The intricacies of political maneuvering continue to unfold, leaving observers pondering the true motivations behind these enigmatic appointments.

Parsing through the intricacies of Mr. Sunak's recent political moves, the quest for strategic brilliance appears a futile endeavor, a mere squandering of energy that does little to illuminate his true agenda. Rather than providing clarity, his actions add layers of incoherence to the already perplexing narrative.

A mere six weeks ago, the Conservative leader attempted a rebranding effort at the party conference, positioning himself as the "change candidate" poised to end three decades of perceived failures at Number 10. Dubbed "the audacity of the desperate," this pitch failed to resonate with voters, a sentiment accentuated by Mr. Sunak's own contradictory actions. By bringing back a figure who occupied Number 10 for six of the past 13 years, the logic of presenting oneself as the harbinger of change crumbles, leaving observers bewildered.

The reappearance of Mr. Cameron, whether parading through Downing Street or strutting on the so-called "world stage," serves as a stark reminder to voters of the enduring Tory rule. Yet, the desperation within the Conservative ranks for a game-changing narrative persists, exacerbated by the disappointment with Mr. Sunak's conference speech and the lackluster legislative agenda outlined in the king's speech.

The yearning for anything that might alter the narrative surrounding the beleaguered government is palpable among Conservative MPs, yet Mr. Cameron's return is met with skepticism as the magic elixir capable of transforming the Tories' electoral appeal. There has been no rallying cry in Parliament Square demanding Cameron's return, revealing a stark absence of public clamor for his presence. Opting for the title of Baron Cameron of Chipping Norton over Baron Greensill of Sleaze, his legacy is intertwined with a fiscal squeeze that eroded public services, stifled growth, and played a role in the Brexit referendum.

For remainers, he embodies the recklessness of a gambler who risked the country's future on Brexit and lost. Meanwhile, hardcore Brexiters decry his return as a remainer "coup," a notion dismissed as nonsense but one that resonates within the troubled corridors of the Tory party, adding another layer of complexity to an already tumultuous political landscape.

The decision to resurrect Mr. Cameron from political obscurity may have succeeded in generating shockwaves, momentarily diverting attention from the eviction of Suella Braverman and providing a brief respite for Number 10. However, the novelty wore off in a mere 32 hours when the ex-home secretary unleashed a scathing resignation letter, portraying Mr. Sunak as a cowardly, untrustworthy, and vacillating figure betraying "authentic" conservatism. As whispers circulate about Braverman's aspirations to lead the opposition post-election, one senior Tory cynically remarked on the size of the opposition she envisions.

The spotlight on the new foreign secretary intensified, scrutinizing his connections with China and exposing foreign policy blunders overshadowing any triumphs. Mr. Sunak's week spiraled further with the supreme court's unanimous and damning judgment, torpedoing his flagship pledge to "stop the small boats" and deeming the scheme to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda as unlawful.

In the face of this humiliating setback, the Tories find themselves in turmoil, grappling with the aftermath of the court ruling. A faction of head-bangers, led by Lee Anderson, Sunak's appointee as deputy chairman, advocates for a blatant disregard of the highest court, urging the government to "just put the planes in the air." This represents a disheartening plunge for a party that once championed the rule of law.

For the average voter, navigating the minutiae of the latest Conservative policy debacle and the ensuing internal strife may seem an unnecessary chore. What will likely catch their attention is the evident discord within the Tories, marked by ideological clashes and personal psychodramas, contradicting the image Mr. Sunak sought to project of a party leaving such tumultuous tendencies behind.

In the intricate dance of internal party dynamics, Labour's handling of divisions during the Israel-Hamas conflict presents a stark contrast to the turmoil within the Conservative ranks. Despite witnessing the largest parliamentary revolt against Sir Keir Starmer, with 56 Labour MPs, over a quarter of the total, rebelling for a ceasefire in Gaza, the rebellion was surprisingly controlled. The dissenters and the leadership exhibited restraint, avoiding the noisy and nasty confrontations often associated with such significant disagreements.

Unlike the Tories, who seem prone to descending into uncivil war over various topics, Labour's rebellion highlighted a disciplined party eager for victory. The absence of vitriolic condemnations or poison pen letters emphasized a level of internal civility rarely seen in modern politics. Even on an issue as passionate as the Israel-Hamas conflict, Labour managed to keep the split civil.

The hunger for power within Labour stands in stark contrast to the factional splintering within the Conservative party. The Tories' internal strife is so pronounced that it raises questions about whether some within their ranks actively seek to lose the election. Rishi Sunak finds himself unable to rein in the Tory furies, and David Cameron, the architect of their unleashed demons, offers little assistance. In the political landscape, Labour appears as a disciplined force pursuing victory, while the Conservatives grapple with internal divisions that threaten their electoral prospects.

In conclusion, the recent internal dynamics of the Labour and Conservative parties during the Israel-Hamas conflict paint a revealing picture of their respective states. Labour, despite facing its largest parliamentary revolt under Sir Keir Starmer's leadership, demonstrated a surprising level of internal discipline and civility. The rebellion, while substantial, lacked the noisy and acrimonious elements typically associated with such disagreements. This paradoxical display underscores Labour's hunger for power, revealing a party capable of managing intense issues without descending into chaos.

On the other hand, the Conservatives find themselves ensnared in factional splintering, with internal conflicts escalating into uncivil wars over a variety of topics. Rishi Sunak's inability to control the Tory furies reflects the challenges within the party, exacerbated by the legacy of David Cameron, who, in unleashing these demons, provides little assistance in their containment. The contrast between a disciplined, power-hungry Labour and a factionally splintered Conservative party raises questions about the latter's electoral prospects.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, the divergent paths of these two major parties highlight the significance of internal dynamics in shaping their ability to navigate contentious issues and ultimately secure electoral success.

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