David Cameron on the world stage... in his pre-Lord daysPatrick Tsui/FCO/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

I must admit, at first, I thought it was a joke.

When I saw the story first pop up on the BBC news feed, I assumed it was part of some effort to educate people about fake news by coming up with the most absurd headline possible. It was only after the official Conservatives X account posted their graphic, announcing the return like a football club welcoming back a former player, that it all sank in.

In one of the most nonsensical moves in modern British political history, David Cameron, our former Prime Minister, is back. For what reason, exactly? I’m still trying to figure that one out myself.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Suella Braverman deserved to be sacked. She’s spent the last few months spewing hateful rhetoric, whipping up extremists, and undermining public trust in institutions like the police force. The fact it even took Sunak this long to send her packing is a damning indictment of his weakness in leadership. It’s choosing Cameron as her replacement that is the bafflingly ludicrous part.

“It’s choosing Cameron as her replacement that is the bafflingly ludicrous part.”

This is the same David Cameron who we have to thank for a decade of austerity. The same David Cameron who called and lost the Brexit referendum, then jumped ship and avoided taking any responsibility for the mess he’d created. The same David Cameron whose only moments of public prominence in the last five years have been giving electoral analysis to a tree, and being embroiled in what the FT called “the biggest UK lobbying scandal in a generation”. That’s the one. It honestly feels like Sunak is basing his reshuffle on a game of Mad Libs: “Our new Foreign Secretary will be (Insert random politician here)“.

How does Sunak not realise that bringing in the former Prime Minister from the wilderness is practically an admission that the last seven years of governance have been pointless? Nothing says “I’ve not run out of new ideas” than appointing someone Foreign Secretary who led the party nearly a decade ago.

It is hard to believe that there will be no tensions or divisions between Cameron and Sunak. They were on different sides of the Brexit debate, they have differing views on China, and only a month ago Cameron berated Sunak on social media for cancelling the full rollout of HS2. The two of them are hardly natural political bedfellows.

The appointment also marks a depressing return to form for the Conservatives when it comes to representation. For the first time in decades, all four Great Offices of State are being occupied by privately-educated men; one Eton, one Westminster, one Charterhouse and one from the albeit lesser known Colfe’s School in London.What a clever and politically shrewd move from Sunak! There’s no way that reducing diversity of experiences and viewpoints will have a negative impact on the policies being proposed, right?

“all four Great Offices of State are being occupied by privately-educated men”

It is worth acknowledging that Cameron is just a dead cat. The headlines are now focused on his return, as opposed to the Party divisions that have just been cleaved open even further by firing Braverman. Her resignation statement is explosive, and letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee have already started coming in. Yet, by making a splash with his Cameron appointment, Sunak has managed to, as of now, dodge much of this heat. All it took was one of the most incomprehensible appointments in parliamentary history.

However, this should never have been so. Conflicts in both Ukraine and the Middle East mean that the work of our Foreign Secretary is more crucial now than ever. It is crucial they are prominent, visible and accountable. Regardless of Cameron’s experience on the international stage, the position shouldn’t be filled by someone who cannot answer urgent and pressing questions from Members of Parliament. Especially not someone who’s been appointed, in part, to draw attention away from internal Party divisions. The whole business reeks of incompetence.


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This will be no triumphant return for Cameron. He’s not going to come riding over the hill in shining armour and change the fortunes of the Party with a click of his fingers and his slightly disconcerting smile. He’s throwing himself into a tired and idea-less governing Party, riddled with infighting and disunity. A Party that, politically, is virtually unrecognisable from the one he abandoned seven years ago. I would wish him good luck, but it’d be impossible to do so without coming across as sarcastic.

If David Cameron is, genuinely, the ace up Sunak’s sleeve, maybe it’s time he just gave up. His Party isn’t going forward. It’s not even staying static. It’s careering backwards, and dragging the rest of the nation along with it.