If Only the Conservative Party Were Conservative

You may have heard that Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been forced out of the British Cabinet, apparently because she correctly complained about the fact that London’s Metropolitan Police show favoritism toward Muslim demonstrators (often, rioters) compared with other groups, like the “far right.” Braverman’s critique was not gratuitous; as Home Secretary, she had ultimate responsibility for the Metropolitan Police. Nevertheless, it was enough to get her fired.

Braverman did not go quietly. She wrote a three-page letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, which she made public on Twitter. Here it is:

I encourage you to read it all. Braverman’s complaints will sound familiar to American conservatives. A few highlights:

As you know, I accepted your offer to serve as Home Secretary…on certain conditions. … I agreed to support you because of the firm assurances you gave me on key policy priorities. Those were, among other things:

1. Reduce overall legal migration as set out in the 2019 manifesto through, inter alia, reforming the international students route and increasing salary thresholds on work visas;

2. Include specific “notwithstanding clauses” into new legislation to stop the boats, i.e., exclude the operation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Act and other international law that had thus far obstructed progress on this issue;

3. Deliver the Northern Ireland Protocol and Retained EU Law Bills in their then existing form and timetable;

4. Issue unequivocal statutory guidance to schools that protects biological sex, safeguards single sex spaces, and empowers parents to know what is being taught to their children.

In other words, to govern as a conservative. But that hasn’t happened:

You have manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver on every single one of these key policies.
These are not just pet interests of mine. They are what we promised the British people in our 2019 manifesto which led to a landslide victory. They are what people voted for in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
Your rejection of this path was not merely a betrayal of our agreement, but a betrayal of your promise to the nation that you would do “whatever it takes” to stop the boats.

Braverman’s final grievance was Sunak’s failure to address the rampant anti-Semitism that has taken over the streets of British cities:

Another cause for disappointment–and the context for my recent article in the Times [the one that got her fired] has been your failure to rise to the challenge posed by the increasingly vicious antisemitism and extremism displayed on our streets since Hamas’s terrorist atrocities of 7th October.

I have become hoarse urging you to consider legislation to ban the hate marches and help stem the rising tide of racism, intimidation and terrorist glorification threatening community cohesion. Britain is at a turning point in our history and faces a threat of radicalization and extremism in a way not seen for 20 years. I regret to say that your response has been uncertain, weak, and lacking in the qualities of leadership that this country needs.

Braverman concluded:

I will, of course, continue to support the Government in pursuit of policies which align with an authentic conservative agenda.

I wrote quite a few years ago that in America, you can vote for conservative government, but you can’t get it. That seems to be even more true in the U.K., where all observers expect the Conservatives to be swept out of office in the next election.

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