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.