Sunak, Young, Rich, Hindu And From Oxford


Fernando González Urbaneja | The new British Prime Minister is young (42), rich (almost a billion in assets), Hindu (family religion) and a graduate of Oxford and Stanford (Fulbright programme). He has been in Parliament for seven years and, after working for Goldman and several investment funds, he headed the Treasury (with Boris Johnson) before rising to become Minister of Finance. A dense professional career that is a credit to much, or little, depending on how well he is doing at the head of the Conservative Party and the British government. Third prime minister for the same legislature that he wants to stretch to the limit (2024) to rescue the disappointed conservative voter. Today he would lose the election by a landslide. In his favour is the resounding majority won by Johnson (God forgive his voters for the nonsense!).

Sunak is an unknown quantity although, for the moment, it means bringing back to reason the Tory government led by a rogue (Boris) and two good-for-nothings (May and Truss). Sunak figures to be ultimately responsible for Boris’s downfall and a loser among the more coffee-loving Tory militants to Liz Truss. In his favour he was the favourite of the voters and also of the markets who evicted Truss and whom Sunak now has to woo to finance the deficit.

That he is young has as many arguments in favour as against; that he is rich may be reassuring but is disturbing for his lack of sensitivity; that he comes from Oxford and Stanford is part of the UK norm. We know that he was a supporter of Brexit, which is proving once again to be one of the tragedies of the defunct British empire.

Some of his mistakes are known and he professes regret, especially over the taxation of his very rich wife registered as a non-resident in a manifest abuse of opportunity. Sunak brings the party together in an emergency situation. He has shown firmness and style with Johnson to whom he offered the Foreign Office to bring him back into the party order. The proud Boris did not accept, only to be left on the fringes of power and doomed to irrelevance unless Sunak does halfway well.

The new premier should be expected to be serious and rigorous with the public accounts, which the UK is in great need of. Moreover, he should conclude reliable and stable negotiations with the European Union and with the disgruntled partners in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Fate leads to a second referendum in Scotland that may end with the break-up of an alliance that has lasted more than three centuries.

Managing and reversing British decline is the task for which this third-round prime minister will be measured. He has two years left to bring his party back from the brink of catastrophe.

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The Corner
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