A minor Tory name resigns her non-ministerial position (Whip in the un-Whippable Lords?). No earthquake. This is the week of the old August Bank Holiday: the silliest point in the silly season. Therefore Barnoness Warsi, for all her unworthiness, gets her headlines.
The Spectator had to have a holding piece while the Great BoJo Revelation came through — and the evidence suggests they had prior warning to get that cover ready for this week’s edition:
Presumably, that diminutive figure under BoJo’s approaching arse is “Gids” Osborne, the heir presumptive. From whom (or from those ever-present “sources close to the Chancellor”) we shall soon be hearing more. It”ll be worth watching if Johnson’s parachuting into the safest of seats is trouble-free. My guess is not: he has too many undeclared enemies, and too many fair-weather friends.
In patient expectation of the new Caesar coming in triumph over Pompey’s blood, the holding job on the Spectator blog’s was Rod Liddle’s: Baroness Warsi – commendable but stunningly wrong.
I couldn’t give a toss whether Baroness Warsi is right (well, most of her views are), wrong, or “stunningly” so. What matters more is whether David Cameron is.
Let’s backtrack to 21st July and Hansard on the Ukraine (Flight MH17) and Gaza exchange.
I thought at the time that David Cameron’s line was inadequate, even one-sided. I wondered how long could this official line be held:
What is happening in Gaza is absolutely heartbreaking. We have to be clear, though, about how this could most quickly be brought to an end: that is for Hamas to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. If they stop those, all the other things that we need—the end of the Israeli operation, and the ceasefire—would be in place.
It didn’t ring true. It wasn’t the authentic bell metal.
Still, Cameron repeated that at least six times in answering questions. Each iteration suffered serial elision until the essential message became:
… we believe in Israel’s right to defend itself, we believe that it needs to exercise restraint, to avoid civilian casualties and to find ways of bringing this to a close. But the best way to bring this to a close is the fastest way, and that is for the rocket attacks to stop.
I didn’t see then, and don’t see now that the IDF’s actions are entirely limited to “defending itself”. The Gazan death toll alone, now approaching 2,000, underlines that is is a campaign of aggression, not “defence”.
If I read Netanyahu’s statements correctly, that isn’t his position either:
What is about to end is the IDF’s treatment of the tunnels, but this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored for Israeli citizens for a prolonged period… We don’t have any intention of hurting the residents of Gaza. It’s Hamas who is actually hurting them by preventing humanitarian aid. I think the international community needs to condemn Hamas. [That’s lifted from Monday’s WSJ].
To that extent, Lady Warsi has a valid point — and the Prime Minister has mislaid any he had.