Warsi resigns over "morally indefensible" Gaza policy
As Baroness Warsi was extinguishing her candle last night in Westminster Abbey, symbolising the lights going out all over Europe a century ago, she knew that she was about to snuff out her political career.
His Grace won't re-rehearse the praise he has poured out on Sayeeda Warsi in the past (time and time and time and time and again): she is undoubtedly brave, articulate and forthright in her beliefs. She glides through the complexities of Pakistani politics; confronts ‘honour’ killings, mandatory veils and the evils of forced marriage; exposes voter fraud and immerses herself in very relevant and pressing social issues which benefit more than her co-religionists. Contrary to the pervasive Muslim caricature, her eyes are not solely fixated on the glorification of Allah and the wellbeing of the Ummah. Indeed, she has long been a staunch advocate - in word at least - of the Christian faith and its importance for our foundations of liberty. She spoke well, even if she did not always understand.
But she has resigned from the Government over its policy on Gaza, which she says in "morally indefensible".
This is curious, not least because Foreign Secretary has not articulated any policy at all on the matter. Still green in the job, one gets the impression that he studiously straddling fences and balancing on pinheads in order to avoid offending anyone, possibly in order to bolster the Muslim vote.
But perhaps that is Baroness Warsi's problem. She clearly believes that HM Government ought to join in the global choruses of condemnation denouncing Israel, accusing the Zionist aggressor of war crimes and demanding sanctions. She insists that all arms exports to Israel must stop. And since the FCO isn't prepared to dance to that tune, she has decided to clear her desk and resign.
Perhaps that is a good thing.
For all the praise heaped upon her over the years by this blog, she has, of late, completely lost the plot. She lectures us about "true Islam", and mocks those who expose the paucity of her theological understanding. She tweets and tweets about Sharia finance, seemingly oblivious to the religio-cultural significance of the policy. She convened a committee to propagate global religious liberty, but it met only twice for coffee, said absolutely nothing and achieved even less. And she answered many of her critics with veiled allusions to 'Islamophobia', thereby shutting down any valid criticism of her incompetence and deficiencies.
There was a feeling, if not the perception, that this 'Senior Minister of State' had made something of a hobby out of being in the Cabinet, and was using her position in the FCO more for faddish personal interests than the weighty matter of implementing government policy. William Hague was prepared to indulge her and the Prime Minister humoured her: she was symbolically important for Tory detoxification, modernisation and Cameroon rebranding project. It was important that the first female Muslim in the Cabinet was seen to be happy, fully integrated and successful.
Her loss will be keenly felt - not so much in Government but certainly in CCHQ on the run-up to the 2015 General Election. As she agitates now from the Lords' backbenches, descends on chat shows and takes to the airwaves and blogs (it must be noted that she handed her first post-resignation interview exclusively to her co-religionist Mehdi Hasan), the impression will be given that Muslim interests aren't entirely served by or represented in the Conservative Party. And those interests, for many British Muslims, are inseparable from dreams of Palestinian statehood.
The reality, of course, is that Sayeeda Warsi's personal opinions increasingly found no place in the Conservative Party. But that distinction will be lost entirely in those constituencies where the Muslim vote is significant to the outcome of the next General Election, whence she will now doubtless receive dozens of invitations to speak about Israel's "war crimes", "outrages" and "massacres".
Hamas are terrorists, she insists. But Israel is an "occupying power".
And in that 'but' is all the justification Hamas ever needs to continue lobbing missiles at Israel's towns and cities, kidnapping civilians and bombing children on school buses.
Perhaps, instead of dedicating her honoured position in the House of Lords to pontifications about Palestine or denunciations of HM Government, Baroness Warsi might follow the laudable example of Baroness Cox and turn her efforts to global acts of compassion and humanitarian relief. It's very easy to be "morally outraged" from the red backbenches.