Taking lessons from the colonies ……… A failed British PM is parachuted into a plum role. Sounds familiar? – By Aubrey Joachim
The game of cricket originated in South East England and became the established sport in the country in the 18th century. The English foray into foreign lands saw the spread of the game globally in the 19th and 20th centuries. The English took their beloved game to all their colonies and lauded their skill at the game over their colonist subjects. They were the masters of the game they invented. Fast forward to the 21st century and the very same English are being given a lesson in the game they were once invincible at. How things have changed. Colonists being given lessons by their colonies!
Cricket however does not seem to be the only game where the English are taking lessons from their colonies. The craft of politics was also an area where the English prided themselves in supposedly playing by the governance and principles rule-book. Times have changed in this space as well. On Monday morning UK time the British Prime Minister shocked the world with a bombshell announcement that they themselves would have reprimanded and admonished should one of their former colonies have done so. A former failed British PM David Cameron was parachuted into the plum role of Foreign Secretary following the sacking of Suella Braverman from her Home Office role and incumbent foreign Secretary James Cleverly replacing Baverman. Even journalists outside 10 Downing Street were left aghast when a car pulled up at Downing Street and David Cameron alighted!
The Brits have always prided themselves in good governance and ‘above-reproach’ politics. They looked down disparagingly upon those – especially their once colonies – who bend the rules. And bend them they did. As a past PM Cameron was made a life pier by a stroke of King Charles’s pen, walked into the House of Lords and then made a Minister by current British PM Rishi Sunak – himself a product of the colonies. Interesting!
The sacked Home secretary Suella Braverman also seems to be doing her homework. It would appear that the writing is on the wall for the beleaguered Sunak led Tory government. Perhaps it is time to leave the sinking ship? What then is the best option? Most pollies – globally, either glue themselves to the political arena for life or manoeuvre themselves into plum corporate roles post their life in politics. What better way to achieve this than to use political office and position to curry favour with powerful lobby groups by rocking boats. Known for her controversies during political office her rant against the Police in respect of differential treatment of Jewish and Palestinian protesters last week was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Coincidentally, Suella is also of colonial background with her Indian background parents migrating to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius.
The one common narrative emerging from this episode is that the ‘c’ word exists across the world – be it first world nations or not. Corruption can be veiled in different guises. But the fundamentals remain the same – especially in the political arena. As long as there is some unfair benefit to be gained ethics and principles fly out of the window.
It would appear now that the British ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude has been shattered and surely their ‘do as I say’ command sounds hollow. How times have changed. The powerful dominion that Britain once exercised over its colonies ended some time ago. It is now seeing fit to take lessons from its colonies!
The author has been in Australia for 30 years. Originally from Sri Lanka, he also lived in the UK and prior to that in Dubai for 10 years and follows global politics.