Rishi Sunak is not having a good time. And it’s not just because he’s losing.
It’s because, in general, he’s just not very good at it. And by “it”, I mean the human bit of politics, the part where he connects with people as something other than economic units. His campaign, if polling is to be believed, is soon to come to an unsuccessful end.
It’s all now a far cry from the boy wonder, the Sunak the BBC portrayed in a Superman outfit, the Sunak as prime minister-in-waiting, who emerged mid-pandemic with buckets of cash and a furlough scheme.
He materialised at a moment when large numbers of people, both conservative and liberal, were so desperate for a grown up they were happy with someone who merely appeared to be one, no matter what his politics.
He was “dishy Rishi” who presented, despite his very rightwing politics, as not too Tory, a little bit Blair and a whole lot of brown. That last fact – that he seemed to have the potential to be the first prime minister who was also a person of colour – sprinkled even more stardust on him.
And then he nosedived. Barring a miracle, his prime ministerial bid is soon to be history. The epitaph: finance bro fails to seal the deal.
So what happened? Simply, Sunak’s fetishised qualities were entirely limited to presentation and lacked any moral core.
The leadership campaign has been run like a company takeover bid, out of his depth, defaulting to earnest cliches about his biggest weakness being that he’s just “too much of a perfectionist”.
The episodes that truly define the kind of politician Sunak is, were not the moments when he appeared authoritative and in touch.
Perhaps he represents a larger failure of the “modern non-ideological conservative,” as William Hague – the man whose safe seat Sunak was parachuted into after a career as a partner in a hedge fund – once described him. Sunak is an ideologue, but only in the sense that he sees politics as merely another branch of finance, rather than the other way round.
And in a way, that overemphasis on finance is the catch-22 for brown members of the Conservative party.
Nevertheless, history will probably be kind to Sunak, as someone whose rejection signals a self-destructive Conservative party set on its course to indulge fantasy over fact.
But his brief popularity shows that others are willing to make an equally squalid settlement: to celebrate someone with no demonstrable interest in or compassion for people, but who can at least manage their nation’s decline.
Sunak may have a second act in him, but in the meantime he departs only in disgrace, knowing that it was all for nothing.
The deal will almost certainly go to the other bidder, who did less work and was less smart but took the shareholders down the pub and made them laugh. Farewell for now, Sunak. We hardly knew ye – and then, suddenly, we knew ye all too well.
Courtesy: Guardian News & Media Ltd. To read full text of this edited version, click here.
Disclaimer : PunjabTodayTV.com and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors’ right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabTodayTV.com or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.
Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.
— Team PT