fairy tale dear that Rishi Sunak blamed Liz Truss for dangling the Brits, the better to black it out. Six weeks after being rejected by the majority of the 170,000 members of the Conservative Party – mostly male, white and middle-aged – the young forty-year-old is getting his revenge.
This Indian’s grandson, who arrived in Britain in the 1960s, will in the coming days become the first government leader from an immigrant background thanks to the support of elected Conservatives. Failing to reach the required 100 sponsorships, ex-minister Penny Mordaunt resigned in extremis of the race on Monday. Knowing he was dropped while pretending to have 102 supporters (without proving it), Boris Johnson backed down late on Sunday night.
The relentless Brexiter, Sunak saw fit to tweet his
eternal gratitude to finalize the divorce with the European Union. But the message sounds like a first-class funeral. These two hate each other. Especially since Sunak, then finance minister, opened up about the resignations that cost Johnson his post in June. The severe Sunak then judged the foreheads of the irrepressible
BoJo too harmful for the party.
He is not flawless either. Like Boris Johnson, he was fined for a party in full confinement. He also saw the winds of scandal blow in the spring: while he was imposing a heavy fiscal effort on his fellow citizens to cushion the shock of the pandemic, the press revealed that his wife, Akshata Murty, daughter of India’s 5th fortune, benefited from a privileged tax arrangement. Considered as
not resident in the United Kingdom – due to her many properties in India and elsewhere – she had just saved 2.3 million euros on the backs of British taxpayers… Stack the price Sunaks paid to acquire a mansion in Yorkshire and install a swimming pool there for their two daughters (€293,000) heated at a golden price (€15,000 per year).
“Work, family, integrity…”
Legal but morally dubious. Especially for a man who swears by his
faith in work, family and integrity. And who never misses an opportunity to remember that he is here
thanks to his parents’ hard work and sacrifice”.
But a well-to-do family… His father was a doctor, his mother a pharmacist. But Rishi Sunak swears he worked hard as a kid in Southampton:
I grew up in the store and delivered the drugs. I also worked as a waiter at the Indian restaurant down the street.
A student of politics, philosophy and economics at the elite universities of Oxford, then Stanford in the United States, he carved above all the costume of a great financier. Analyst at Goldman Sachs then head of a hedge fund in the City of London, he was already a millionaire when he took his first steps into politics, as MP for Yorkshire, aged 35.
His appearance as a businessman, handsome in expensive suits, completes the brand of the rich technocrat, a bit detached from the daily life of the British. And insensitive to the suffering of the poorest: while he is the grandson of migrants, he supports Boris Johnson’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda…
He calls himself pragmatic. He proved it to the Treasury by doling out billions in government aid to prop up the economy amid Covid. Enough to see him taxed with
socialists by his critics in the Conservative Party. Sunak is offended. Unstoppable liberal, he promises healthy public accounts… Not really knowing, at the moment, how he intends to preserve them, with 10.1% inflation.
No matter what. His moderation is reassuring. After three sulphurous years under Boris Johnson, then six unhappy weeks under Liz Truss, smooth-talking Rishi Sunak is emerging as the savior of the Conservatives. In opposition, Liberals and Labor are suffocated. While the polls put his party at the lowest, they question its legitimacy and call for an early election. The idea of a vote of no confidence is already swirling to topple Rishi Sunak.