Drama in the Tory party is never a surprise, numerous sackings and returning MPs is just a fraction of what’s becoming a messy government.
David Cameron, the former British Prime Minister who served from 2010 to 2016, has made a dramatic return to politics. Considering his high-profile role in the unsuccessful campaign for Britain to remain in the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum, his appointment by Rishi Sunak as Foreign Secretary was unforeseen and surprising. The news has been everywhere, from the morning newspapers to news channels, leaving many astonished at Cameron’s familiar face in the political spotlight.
There have been a multitude of opinions released since Cameron’s reappointment on whether this is a win or a loss for Sunak’s electoral prospects. As covered below, there are both advantages and disadvantages for Sunak, but a more pertinent question emerges: what does this reshuffle signal for inclusion in Britain? In my view, we’re potentially moving in a rather positive direction.
First, let’s be clear, Cameron’s reappointment can initially appear disastrous for Sunak’s show of leadership. Critiques of Cameron are well documented and backed within both the Conservative and Labour party. His firm stance as a Remainer clashes with the Brexit faction of the Conservatives. His role in initiating and losing the Brexit referendum then alienates Remainers as well. Adding to this, his involvement in lobbying senior officials in 2021 on behalf of a controversial supply chain finance firm that collapsed has tainted his reputation.
Layla Moran, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat party, referred to Cameron as being “at the heart of the biggest lobbying scandal of recent times.”
One might question Sunak’s rationale in recalling such a high-profile figure. David Lammy, the foreign affairs spokesman for the main opposition Labour Party, described the return of Cameron as a “last gasp act of desperation from a government devoid of talent and ideas.”
There are, however, positives to consider.
Sunak’s Cabinet, especially post-Liz Truss, has shown a void of leadership. Cameron’s entry into the government hints at a potential stabilisation, given his extensive experience and centrist stance. His maintained international connections with Heads of States could be crucial for Britain, which currently struggles for global credibility. This move seems like a vote of confidence for Sunak’s own leadership, the ability to bolster his Cabinet with a seasoned politician and leader.
What does this mean for Britain moving forward? And most importantly, inclusion. Throughout Europe, we are seeing the rise of the right-wing ascend to leadership positions across governments (France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Sweden are a few examples). The key issue sparking right-wing votes is immigration, a policy topic where Britain’s Home Office is following a similar trajectory.
Nevertheless, in the eyes of the rest of the world, Britain may be going down a different path to the rest of Europe. With the Labour Party poised for potential victory, Sunak’s move to reintroduce Cameron (a centrist) to government could be seen as a resistance to the far-right.
This bodes well for inclusive initiatives that have taken off during the pandemic after the horrific murder of George Floyd sparked a push for inclusion, diversity, and justice across society. As all ideas eventually become challenged, Britain’s political future of a more centrist Tory Party, and rising Labour Party, may just offer inclusion the chance to transform into a norm rather than a mere trend adopted from the United States. Britain might have the opportunity to set standards for inclusion, which may not just transform the country itself, but the rest of the world.