PoliticsDo Politicians deserve a second chance?

Do Politicians deserve a second chance?


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PM Rishi Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle has raised some eyebrows, not least for the sacking of controversial home secretary Suella Braverman amid recent comments and the appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron. While this is headline-grabbing, what does this say about the trend of second chances in politics?

Let’s focus firstly on the Rt Hon David Cameron. Prime Minister between May 2010 and July 2016, he stepped down soon after the Brexit referendum as he had campaigned for Britain to remain. Yet now he’s back. Rising from the ashes of political obscurity (he’s not even an MP) David Cameron has taken one of the top jobs in cabinet, foreign secretary. 

It’s not unheard of, Sweden’s Carl Bildt and Denmark’s Lars Løkke Rasmussen made the same move from Prime Minister to foreign minister. What’s not to like? David Cameron is undeniably qualified, but he is unelected, and facing possible scandals due to lobbying payments. Even putting those facts aside, David Cameron had to resign after the Brexit referendum result, having campaigned to remain. That is a political failure if ever there was one. Yet now he’s back and a question to ask is, has he learnt his lessons?

The surprising fact is second chances are normal in politics. It comes and goes depending on who you’re in favour of and the political environment of the time. Suella Braverman has lost her job as home secretary twice in little more than a year. Previously removed by Liz Truss, it was Rishi Sunak who reinstated her (it has been revealed due to some secret deals). Indeed, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak himself failed to earn No.10 via vote, yet he remains Prime Minister.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron | Leon Neal/Getty Images

It’s not just the Conservatives who have the same trend of recycling political figures, former Prime Minister Tony Blair is being rehabilitated back into the Labour Party fold. Likely to help rally public support in the upcoming election. 

What I’m trying to underline is that politics seems out of touch with the rules of play for the rest of us. Which other industry can you be fired (perhaps twice) and still have the likelihood of employment in the future? If I was removed due to incendiary comments, or breaching office codes, or failing the promises I had made I doubt I would be back in the same office a year later. 

In no other industry can we see ineptitude rewarded with time away (often still in employment) and the same of similar political posts. Should we not hold our elected officials to higher standards? 

I must confess, I have been following politics long enough to know that this phenomenon will not end any time soon.  In fact, we, the public, might even like the irregular thrill of a comeback story that we are unable to fulfil ourselves. Whether you love or hate our political classes there’s something a little exciting about the prospect of someone old coming back to newer times. Like your favourite character from a series raised from the dead, we’re never quite sure what might happen next. 

Cleo Anderson
Cleo Andersonhttp://www.cleoa.co.uk
Cleo Anderson is a freelance content specialist and journalist based between the Netherlands, UK and Jamaica. She has previously worked in national and international broadcast television news in the UK and Jamaica. She holds a bachelor's degree in European Stuides (French) from King's College London. Cleo is currently pursuing a master's in Media and Creative Industries at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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