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Scott’s Blog

The High-Rise and Fall of Baroness Warsi

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

 

Normally the resignation of a junior Minister of State passes by without much fuss. But in the case of Sayeeda Warsi, a well-timed, lengthy and cynically received resignation letter by one of Westminster’s arch opportunists ensured maximum media coverage on an otherwise quiet news day.

So Lady Warsi resigned on principle over the “morally indefensible” position of HM Government (and more specifically the PM and George Osborne) on the crisis in Gaza. Well, if you believe that you will believe anything. I have known Warsi for many years and in my view principles are not her strong points.

The Conservative Party, and David Cameron in particular, became Dr Frankenstein and created its own monster in Warsi. The ‘monster’ is now threatening to get out of control and the makers are not happy.

To me, Warsi has always been an opportunist. I recall a conversation prior to her joining the Conservative Party. It was very clear she would only join the party if nomination for Dewsbury’s Parliamentary seat came with it. If her demands were not met, it was made known she was talking to the Labour Party. She was selected as the candidate, and the rest as they say is history.

However, the dismay set in when after her failure to be selected as a parliamentary candidate anywhere else (despite being catapulted to the top of the A-list) she was courted by David Cameron, fast tracked into the House of Lords and appointed to the Shadow Cabinet.

What experience, qualifications or skills did she have for this job? None, but Cameron did not care. At that time, with Theresa May’s ‘nasty party’ sound-bite still firmly in their minds, Warsi ticked all the politically correct boxes required to throw off this tag. Put simply, she was in the right place at the right time and it didn’t matter if she was promoted way beyond her capabilities.

When the coalition was formed, Cameron must have known Warsi, was not up to being Chairman of the Conservative Party and a member of the Cabinet. He must have known she was a political lightweight, a product of gesture politics, a political prop designed to provide a new and modern face of the party. During a gaffe ridden, disastrous tenure as Party Chairman, where membership fell to an all time low and donations dried up and following a revolt from the grass roots membership she was replaced. But as we know, Cameron believes in second chances.

It has often been reported that Warsi did not take her demotion well and insisted that a made up title be given to her to compensate for the loss of her Cabinet position. Cameron duly obliged the Baroness and made her Senior Minister of State for the Foreign Office.

It is in this role that her delusions of grandeur began to take shape and prior to the Cabinet reshuffle in 2012 it was said that she was being groomed to be Defence Secretary! So in the reshuffle of 2014 the Cabinet of ‘women’ surely the Lady would get her much sought after reward – Secretary of State for Defence, Foreign Secretary even? Not a chance and this is the real reason for her resignation.

Cameron did not sack her before this point, and he should have done. Like with Andy Coulson he held on too long before he let go and it is for this reason that Warsi will certainly come back to bite him. 

I understand she was a copious note taker at Cabinet (by the way – this is often a trick to look involved when you don’t have anything to say), so a memoir is being talked about. Well, in my view, the arch opportunist will not miss that trick and we should be ready for volume one of its serialization in the Guardian or the Independent soon.

Comments

Andrew

I've met her several times and you can see the intellect in her. She's a highly articulate, intelligent women who masters a brief expertly, has an excellent recall of facts and names of people she met years ago.
It seems to me that any Asian woman will be accused of being promoted because she's brown or female.

The implication is that she should be making her husband's tea instead of meddling in White Men's business.

You only need to speak with her to see the intellect - if you can see that.

I recall an incident in Heckmondwike when she met an obvious looking BNP supporter and she asked him to listen to her for a few minutes. I saw him later in town, and while I don't think he would've voted for her, even he said he was impressed by the reasoned intellectual way she came across.

She was very good on BBC Question Time, which can't be an easy forum, coming across as sensible and level headed.

The reason she rose to the top was because she had one of the most formidable intellects in politics - a subtle thing oft missed by those who only see colour, gender and home town.

Kenny Boy

Intellect? I don't think so. More like rent-a-gob, similar to another high profile local originally from Kirklees, though with less original thought than her. I take it Jon won't be swapping Eid cards with her next year.

Andrew

Rent-a-gob? I don't think so. More like a very intelligent lady. To those who can see.


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