Is Sayeeda Warsi’s resignation a sign of protest or defeat?

Published: August 7, 2014
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While Warsi, or any other person in a position of political power, has every right to protest, what needs to be kept in mind is that this will hardly serve any purpose in the long run. PHOTO: AFP

Sayeeda Warsi’s recent resignation has gathered a lot of spotlight. The fact that she is the first Muslim to serve as a UK cabinet minister has only added to media coverage of her resignation. While the reaction to her resignation has been understandably mixed, what is up for debate is whether this serves any purpose at all.

To put it simply, the resignation by Warsi is a sign of protest. In her own words:

“My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East Peace Process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”

While Warsi, or any other person in a position of political power, has every right to protest, what needs to be kept in mind is that this will hardly serve any purpose in the long run. If this protest was by a large chunk of the UK cabinet (something next to impossible); it would have had an impact. But Warsi alone, despite her impressive credentials, will only create a storm in a teacup.

The problem here is not in the action itself, but the magnitude of it. A new minister of faith will be sworn into the UK cabinet, and things will go on smoothly. David Cameron will issue a run of the mill statement (which he already has by the way), a random minister here and there will pass a comment, some slamming Warsi, some commending her stance, and that will be the end of that. In matters of political significance, this will soon be forgotten when Israel sees red again. When that happens, the BBC, CNN and Fox News will resume their shambolic coverage of the Gaza conflict, and Sayeeda Warsi will be confined to a page in history books.

None of this is her fault of course. Politics is a dirty business, and it will be more than happy to chuck the dissidents out and ensure smooth sailing for the future. But there will always be those who claim that she should have stayed in power instead of giving up. There will always be those who will claim that she should have used her influence in David Cameron’s cabinet for the better. The line between conceding defeat and protesting, depending on who you speak to and especially in a case like this, is very thin.

From a historical perspective, Warsi is not the first politician to resign in protest. She won’t be last one to do so either. She is, however, one of the most prominent ones to do so in recent memory. Ever since the USA went for a stroll in Afghanistan, political consciousness and the ability to take a stand for the right thing seemed like alien actions. This is, perhaps, one of the reasons why her resignation comes as a refreshing change.

For having the courage to do this, she deserves a fair amount of credit. But sadly, it will be foolish to expect that her resignation will solve everything. In a parallel perfect universe, things might have been different. But our universe has never been within touching distance of perfection. Not in the past, not right now, and certainly does not seem so in the immediate future.

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • WB

    Warsi’s resignation is neither a sign of protest nor is it a sign of weakness.

    Warsi’s resignation is not a sign at all.

    Warsi’s resignation is in-your-face hypocrisy/bigotry/dishonesty/betrayal/disloyalty. Perhaps even light treason.

    Why?

    First let’s analyze what she said, she said she was resigning protesting the British government’s policies on Israel/Gaza.

    Now, let’s look at a more blatant case of violation of British interests: Pakistan.

    The man who led an army of terrorists against British and NATO interests both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan. There were ample circumstantial evidence to believe that he had the support of one of the government agencies. There have been plenty of evidence for that. In fact there has been a recent book on that as well.

    Yet, British government gives aid to Pakistan.

    That’s like paying bounty to your enemy to kill your family members.

    She did not protest that and resign.

    So, she doesn’t even care about her own countrymen, but she cares about Gaza. Why, because they are Muslims.

    So, there’s the answer you needed.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    National interest comes first , then others . This lady being a British show follow British interests . That’s why it is a defeat and “islamophobia” will rise again.Recommend

  • Queen

    According to the TIME magazine, “Politicians don’t often quit out of principle. They especially do not quit out of moral principle. But, on the rare occasion that they do, it
    is dramatic.” What Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has done requires moral courage; something which unfortunately the political leaders especially those in the Islamic World lack. Warsi, by resigning, has highlighted the situation in Palestine. Individuals who fight within the government ultimately get swallowed by the system.Recommend

  • Mo!

    Perhaps it’s foolish to write a blog on Warsi’s resignation as soon as she announced. Had you waited, you would have seen the stir it has created in British politics, and the pressure it’s exerting on Cameron. Might I suggest going through any of the free British publications online. That’ll give you a better (and more up-to-date) picture…Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    I would rather be foolish than be cynical. Warsi resigned from a post which millions can’t even dream about. Yes, pacifists and nihilists her move may not mean anything but to activists it means a world because being a politician she moved left something that means a world to her counterparts in any corner of the globe.
    Thank you, Ms. Warsi not because you are Muslim of Pakistani Origin but because you exercised inner call.Recommend

  • Ammad

    She may have resigned, but that does not mean her voice has been silenced: it may be louder as a result.” (TIME)Recommend

  • Prashant

    I have never seen a non Muslim putting down their papers for something happening thousands of miles away.

    She knows this better than others that her resignation would not make any difference but then she is not trying to make a difference either, she is simply trying to address the inflated egos of some from her community who might be against her for not doing what she has done.Recommend

  • Asad Khan

    ” In a parallel perfect universe, things might have been different. But our universe has never been within touching distance of perfection. Not in the past, not right now, and certainly does not seem so in the immediate future.”

    Mr. Blogger but the thing is if you know that our universe is not perfect than please do not expect the perfectionism form othersl.

    For the information of Blogger, I would like to point out the resignation of British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrignton. Heresign due to Falkland War which was Military won by British, what would one should call it then? defeat? failure? protest? etc.

    When a person realizes that there is no good in continuing his/her services which is yielding zero result and in direct confrontation to one’s principle n belief, it is far better to gracefully leave the field than to carry one shamefully just to remain in power corridor.

    regards,Recommend

  • Prashant

    There are people who crave for attention in the west and when they get it, they let it go the way Sayeeda Warsi has done.Recommend

  • harry

    She would have been removed in the next reshuffle, anyway. So she took the honorary step.Recommend

  • Queen

    What you have said might be true, let’s see how much impact her resignation can create on the British Government policy.Recommend

  • Prashant

    Impact needs to be on the ground for the Palestinians to feel it. Israel does not give a damn about leave alone UK but even what US has to say.

    Israel has decided to put up with the negative publicity to destroy all the tunnels made by Hamas and if not all, most of the substandard rockets used by the Hamas.

    This is just an episode in a never ending series which might come to and for now but it is just a matter of time before the Hamas and Israel are back to their usual self.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    It’s UKs internal matter so let it be………Recommend

  • Blunt

    A British minister resign over the discontent of his government’s policy over Gaza, but all an Indian troll can see in this is Pakistan and Osama bin Laden. It’s established fact that Indian can never shed their Pakphbia goggles.
    There were ample circumstantial evidence to believe that he had the support of one of the government agencies May I know what was that?

    As far as books are concerned there are many regarding the growing, protecting and using OBL by CIA. Have you gone through one?Recommend

  • Sane

    Anyways, but she gave a jolt to conscious of the people, who have. Those who don’t have may find reasons or resort to predictions.Recommend