GIVEN THE growing crisis in the Middle East and our government’s lack of reaction to events on the ground, someone had to make a stand and that person was me.
For me this is all about missiles. I’m fed up with being pelted with eggs by the local Muslim community every time I visit Bradford or Luton and the Israel-Hamas conflict was the final straw. The escalation in dry-cleaning costs was something I was not prepared to countenance.
So I called David Cameron. I said: “Israelis are shelling innocent Palestinian civilians, we can’t stand by and say nothing. As a senior member of your government, I am telling you we need a more even-handed approach.”
There was a short silence followed by: “Thank you for calling the office of the Prime Minister. David Cameron values your call and he or one of his assistants will get back to you as soon as possible.”
H’mm, well, they all told me I was only in my position due to the fact I was the only Muslim woman who had joined the party since 1973. Now we would see how important political tokenism was for the Conservatives.
Sure enough, within four days a panicked David Cameron was on the phone. “Sayeeda, there was some kind of garbled message on my voicemail, How can I help?”
“My position has become untenable. I have to leave my post as minister at the Foreign Office”.
There was a short silence before he replied: “Erm, are you still in that job? I was sure that you were reshuffled when I moved old Haguey out. Did you not get some kind of email? I tell you, the computers at No 10 have been playing up something rotten.”
“No, I believe I am still at the Foreign Office.. You can’t reshuffle me, I resign.”
“Are you quite sure I can’t tempt you into a year or two as Under Secretary for Cumbrian Rural Regeneration? It’s a vital job.”
Obviously I hung up. I wouldn’t have got where I am without the will of the people. I stood for election, I was defeated and I was made a peer and chairman of the Conservative party. I want to instill those kind of values in the Middle East. Hamas have taken a firm stand, and now they are are making a token protest against the harsh Israeli blockade by floating a few fairly harmless missiles over Israeli towns.
I assure you that if that happened in Yorkshire, rather than launch a brutal war against Lancashire, we would open the borders and allow trade with Burnley and Bury. It is this kind of approach that Israel needs to adopt. Justice for the Palestinians and, if anyone’s listening, a new job for me would be nice too.
Did you not get the reshuffle email?
*As imagined by Simon Round