This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

In football parlance, a manager is guaranteed the sack when he’s “lost the dressing room”. Suella Braverman has decided to simply set the dressing room on fire.

There’s a growing sense that, knowing a resounding defeat is coming at the next general election, the Home Secretary would quite like to get the old tin tack – the better to position herself for a leadership run when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is forced to resign.

Even with that in mind, her open letter in The Times attacking a planned pro-Palestinian march in London planned for Saturday was jaw-dropping, and seemingly blindsided her own government.

In it she states such marches are “an assertion of primacy by certain groups – particularly Islamists – of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”. Does it follow, then, that Ms Braverman will be calling for marching season to be cancelled in the west of Scotland and Northern Ireland next year?

As for the assertion of primacy from Islamist groups, she may have a point. After all, noted Muslim extremists Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury have called for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

The Home Secretary had previously referred to the demonstrations as “hate marches” and in her letter she makes clear that is “a phrase I do not resile from”, citing “violence around the fringes” as well as “the highly offensive content of chants, posters and stickers”.

There have been incidents of violence – though even Ms Braverman admits they’re rare – and some posters and stickers which are anti-Semitic rather than simply being critical of the state of Israel, but it appears the MP for Fareham is referring more broadly to the movement.

There has been debate over the meaning of “from the river to the sea”, which is surely meant by most demonstrators as meaning Palestine must be liberated from the West Bank (on the River Jordan) to the Gaza Strip (on the Mediterranean Sea).

There are some who are, understandably, uncomfortable with the chant which they say could be taken as a call to drive all Jewish people off the land. Likewise, the 1977 founding charter of Israel’s ruling Likud party states “between the Sea and the Jordan there will only be Israeli sovereignty”, which could equally be taken as a call to drive all Arab people off the land. The Home Secretary appears disinterested in any such nuance.

Similarly, Ms Braverman states that “Israel has been demonised as Nazis”. Pictures have circulated to that effect, including one banner reading “you have become what you hated” alongside an image of Hitler. That is deeply offensive – not to mention alarming for British Jews – and inaccurate, and arguably amounts to Holocaust revisionism.

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However, it is also not the same as referring to ethnic cleansing, occupation, or war crimes. The day after Hamas’ incursion into Israel, the country’s oldest newspaper, Haaretz, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of having taken “overt steps… to carry out ethnic cleansing” in the West Bank: i.e the forced removal of Arab residents to be replaced with Jewish, Israeli settlers.

Ms Braverman’s own government refers to both the West Bank and Gaza as occupied territories, while Amnesty International has highlighted “damning evidence” of war crimes committed against Gazan civilians. These are not, evidently, extremist positions to hold.

The Herald: Home Secretary Suella Braverman had previously referred to pro-Palestine demonstrations as 'hate marches'Home Secretary Suella Braverman had previously referred to pro-Palestine demonstrations as 'hate marches' (Image: Getty)
Perhaps the part of Ms Braverman’s letter which garnered the most attention was her insinuation that “senior police officers play favourites when it comes to protesters”.

In 2020, then President Donald Trump was asked in a debate with Joe Biden to condemn white supremacists and responded, “Proud Boys: stand back and stand by”. This was seen as a dog whistle to the more extreme elements of his base, something which came into even sharper relief with the events of January 6.

It’s reported the Met Police’s main concern when it comes to violence this weekend is the presence of Tommy Robinson – who has called for “young, English men” to descend on London en masse – and the Democratic Football Lads Alliance which markets itself as anti-extremist but has ties to the far-right.

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What are we to make, then, of Ms Braverman’s musing “football fans are even more vocal about the tough way they are policed as compared to politically-connected minority groups”?

Football fans have legitimate grievances with the way both the police and political establishment treat them, but the Home Secretary invoking those when her only previous foray into the sport was to lambast Gary Lineker had a flavour of “stand back and stand by” about it.

Allowing a march for peace to take place on Armistice Day isn’t an insult to those who died fighting fascism and for freedom. Ms Braverman using their sacrifice to advance her own political career most certainly is.