There are three main takes on Sajid Javid’s recent decision to revoke Shamima Begum’s British citizenship. The first is tabloid. (Good on yer, Saj!) The second is broadsheet. (Frightful! Uncivilised!) The third is merely cynical. The Home Secretary, this view has it, wins either way. If the courts uphold his decision, he gets the credit. And if they don’t, those limp-wristed, bleeding-heart, liberal elite judges get the blame. Either way, he wins – and up go his ratings in the ConservativeHome Cabinet League Table.
We are as world-weary as the next media outlet. So we suspect that the impact of this decision on his future leadership prospects will have floated across Javid’s mind. But one soon grasps, on trying to think it all through, that there is much more to his decision than that.
Let’s start by focusing on Begum herself – this exploited, warped, unrepentant, atypical and seemingly not-very-bright teenager who is evidently as much of a stranger to British norms as she is to the traditional, classical Islam. She fled Britain when she was 15, married a Dutch jihadi, and reportedly now has a baby, two of her children already being dead.