By Jonathan Lee

It’s easy to forget about Dominic Raab. He has the special ability, endemic to those inhabiting the current Tory cabinet, of being able to adjust his principles and cabinet position with a chamaeleon-like proficiency.

It’s actually hard to remember who does what in the Tory government in general, because there have been so many cabinet shuffles and reshuffles since 2016. The same group of tribalist, Tory chancers have been switched around so many times in recent years, it makes it difficult to hold individuals accountable for the disastrous policies put forward by recent governments.

However, the mounting tensions with Iran provides a rare opportunity for everyone to glimpse at the product of this system of rotating incompetency all in one man. It is certainly a fuck up of epic proportions that Dominic Raab is the head of the Foreign Office at a time when relations between Iran and the West are probably at their worst since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Yet it’s hardly unavoidable considering the standard set by his predecessors. Dominic Raab is unqualified for sure, but he is just one out of a long lineup of politicians who collectively form one of the most incompetent UK cabinets in memory.

His immediate predecessor was Jeremy Hunt. During his tenure as head of the foreign office he compared the EU to the Soviet Union, defended his decision to continue arming Saudi Arabia after they dropped a bomb on a bus full of children in Yemen, and according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade “played an utterly central and complicit role in arming and supporting the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen.” He was only in the job for one year.

Dominic Raab is unqualified for sure, but he is just one out of a long lineup

Before him was Boris Johnson. Everyone laughed at the time because they didn’t know what else to do. Former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt said: “I wish it was a joke”. Those days are obviously now long gone, and the joke has only got worse.

Continuing the Tory tradition of terrible foreign policy, Priti Patel simultaneously held the post of Secretary of State for International Development whilst Johnson was doing his worst as Foreign Secretary. She went about her role by holding secret meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other Israeli officials and lobbyists, all while on holiday. When these meetings were made public she lied to the press about giving the Foreign Office prior notice, before being forced to amend her statements when they were later found to be untrue. She was summoned to Downing Street in November 2017 and basically fired by the then Prime Minister Theresa May. Not to worry though, she disappeared for a only a year or so, reappearing in Boris Johnson’s cabinet as Home Secretary.

Dominic Raab has a precedent of Tory inadequacy to live up to, and this is without mentioning the likes of Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Chris Grayling, Andrea Leadsom, Amber Rudd, and Liam Fox. All have inhabited rotating roles in the Conservative cabinet and could presumably end up doing a stint in the Foreign Office at some point in future when Dominic falls out of favour.!/image/image.jpg

via Led by Donkeys

Whilst the sheer inadequacy of the cabinet is palpable at the moment with the growing Middle East crisis, let’s not let it detract from Dominic Raab himself. Raab is representative of Boris Johnson’s cabinet in all its ugly nastiness. He has consistently supported austerity measures, has been critical of the human rights act, and is in favour of expanding private academy schools. He has attempted to introduce a bill to restrict the ability of transport unions to strike without 50% support of union members. And wins the award for wankiest opinion piece of 2012 with his article in the Telegraph entitled: “Hard graft can make Britain great again.”

Remember when he was Brexit Secretary and forgot that the UK was an island? No, me neither.

He resigned in November 2018 anyway, in protest over the Brexit withdrawal agreement which he had himself been partly responsible for negotiating. He later voted in favour of this bill on 29th March 2019, voting in favour of the Irish backstop which he had previously described as “undemocratic and […] something that will have to be removed” whilst Foreign Secretary. This was one of several statements Raab has made which have since aged like milk.

Remember when he was Brexit Secretary and forgot that the UK was an island? No, me neither.

On Feminism, Dominc Raab has argued against what he refers to as the “equality bandwagon” which pits “men and women against each other.” He has said that some feminists were “now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.” In his view “from the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women.”

On civil service fast streams for people from minority and low income backgrounds, he said in 2010: “Positive discrimination is wrong in the same way as negative discrimination. It means people are thinking in terms of social criteria and it is anti-meritocratic.” He has also written against the Equality Act in an opinion piece for The Sunday Times where he argued in favour of a “meritocratic” approach instead of positive discrimination.

Regarding the current foreign policy crisis with Iran, Mr. Raab has already provided a template for action back in 2011. In an article in The Daily Telegraph, he wrote that British foreign policy should reflect the national interest and the UK should not attempt to overextend itself in foreign conflicts but focus aid on the poorest countries. He should take his own advice.

Featured image CC BY-NC-SA 2.0  Sherwood


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