Can Suella Braverman take back control?

3 November 2022

Immigration has always been a career-killer

I almost feel sorry for Suella Braverman. One minute, the Home Secretary was living her best life, happily raging against “the tofu-eating wokerati”; the next, she was being blamed for a firebomb attack on a migrant centre in Dover, the latest chapter in Britain’s sorry immigration story. But amid the chaos, the combination of these flashpoints perfectly encapsulated everything wrong with the current immigration system: here we had yet another politician trying to appear tough on immigration while flailing incompetently, only to be followed by an outburst of hateful violence in response to their incompetence. And so the cycle continues.

Ever since Britain voted to leave the EU, countless politicians have tried to place immigration at the heart of public debate. Perhaps they think that tackling the issue is a guaranteed way to make their name and advance their career. What few realise, however, is that it is a career-killer.

What are we to make of this? Are we simply to conclude that immigration is an unsolvable problem, fated to forever curse Britain’s unfortunate Home Secretaries, from Jack Straw through to Braverman? It often seems that way. But such fatalism is not helpful. Immigration is a political problem like any other, and can be solved like any other, even if it happens to be a particularly tough one.