Photos: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr Photos: Wikimedia Commons/Flickr

Amber Rudd resigning because of popular pressure is a victory and a reminder that what the left does can make a decisive difference argues Chris Nineham

It is always good when the enemy is weakened for whatever reason. But it is important to recognise that it was popular revulsion with racism that did for Rudd.

The immediate reason for her going was that, whatever lame story she has about not knowing the most basic things that were going on at the Home Office, she lied to parliament. But the reason she lied was because she realised she couldn’t admit knowing about a deportation policy that is causing widespread outrage. 

The resignation has severely damaged May’s administration in a number of ways. It is one of a series of embarrassing recent resignations in a government already clinging on by its fingertips. The fact that it is so blatantly obvious that Rudd lied and lied again has further eroded what little credibility the government had. 

But there is of course more. It is a great thing in itself that this crisis has been caused by a popular outcry against racism. It is testimony partly to the huge amount of campaigning over the years by the African Caribbean community and other anti-racists. 

Now the horrifying reality of targets and forced deportation is public it opens up the possibility for a broader mass campaign against the appalling policies that have been pursued by the Home Office for years. 

But it also means the government itself could be in real trouble because May was the architect of the policies that destroyed Rudd. The left and the wider movements need now to push forward simultaneously on both these two fronts. 

Just days ago, all sorts of political commentators were saying Rudd won’t go because it would make May too vulnerable. What the last few hours has proved is that politics isn’t just about what happens in Parliament. That there are times when the political elite lose control of events. 

Rudd’s replacement, Sajid Javid has his own baggage and inspires little confidence. If Javid‘s track record on the Grenfell catastrophe is anything to go by, extra parliamentary campaigning is going to be necessary to get justice for the Windrush victims of deportation, let alone wider change at the Home Office. 

In these circumstances what the left does can make a decisive difference.

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.