It’s either very bold or gob-smackingly arrogant for the leader of a party that has been in charge for the past 13 years to demand a clean slate and to be judged on future results based on some self-serving criteria.
R ishi Sunak, remember him? He’s the latest unelected Prime Minister, a man who was rejected by his own party and who was awarded the job without any vote after the previous unelected incumbent tanked the economy in just two weeks, and cost the public purse some £60 billion in the process (remember that figure next time some frothing British nationalist on social media complains about the ferries). This is a record in wreaking havoc even by the malignant standards of the Conservative party.
Sunak was given the job as he was supposed to be the grown-up in the cabinet, an image which he assiduously cultivated by dint of ensuring that his trousers ended a couple of inches above his shoes. He then proceeded to do his best to vanish from public sight even as strikes spread across the public sector adding to the already widespread gloom and misery which characterised the supposedly festive season.
Now, Sunak and his skinny tie have popped back into the limelight, with a series of five vague promises which he insists we should judge him by. So just ignore how he and his party have trashed democracy, both in Scotland and in the UK as a whole, how they have presided over an appalling decline in standards of decency in public office, allowed corruption and cronyism to run rampant, alienated the UK from Europe and created massive barriers to trade with their ideologically driven Brexit none of whose supposed benefits have materialised. How Sunak happily enabled Boris Johnson and was likewise fined by the police, right up to the moment he saw his chance to nab the top job. How the Conservatives have prioritised the protection of energy company profiteering as vulnerable people freeze, none of this, or any other Conservative atrocity matters. Sunak is telling us that we must judge him on some metrics he has conveniently come up with to suit himself. Naa… The public will be the judge of what they judge the Tories on.
It’s like a serial killer telling us that he wants to be judged on his dancing skills as he dances on the graves of his victims.
Sunak made the – what we are told to call promises – in a speech delivered in East London, a speech which came a couple of days after an anodyne video message which was published on social media only for some genius to change the background to make it look like he was speaking to us while sitting on the toilet.
The speech was delivered in the tone of a bored lecturer in management consultancy speaking to a class of particularly dim teenagers. Not so much Jackanory as Jackatory. This is what happens when a Tory leader pitches a speech to the public at a level his MPs would understand. Still, if there’s one thing that the Conservatives do know how to do well it’s being infuriatingly patronising.
This is a man whose tenure in office looks likely to be only slightly longer than the time it takes for an ambulance to turn up. Sunak’s chances of reversing the polling lead of the equally smug and patronising Keir Starmer are growing smaller every day, and with it the chances of his nervous backbenchers plotting to oust him grow ever greater.
The policy-free, faux-earnest speech by Sunak was utterly tone-deaf. But you must admit it’s either very bold or gob-smackingly arrogant for the leader of a party that has been in charge for the past 13 years to demand a clean slate and to be judged on future results based on some self-serving criteria. We are being treated like toddlers. We’ve had mansplaining, now it’s time for posh-splaining.
PM Rishi Sunak delivering his speech in Stratford. | CREDIT: FLICKR/NUMBER 10
“We will rebuild trust in politics”, says the leader of the party which has completely destroyed trust in politics. Basically, we are being ordered by Sunak to judge the Tories on the next two years while they try to bribe their way to another General Election win. Ignore the last thirteen years. They don’t count. They never happened. That was someone else, bad boys did it and ran away. Sunak insisted: “Judge us on the effort we put in and the results we achieve.” Well yeah, that’s exactly what we have been doing. It hasn’t gone too well for you, has it?
The five promises, if anyone was still paying attention by this point, included cutting NHS waiting lists, bringing down inflation, growing the economy, and stopping boats carrying asylum seekers across the English Channel from France. They were not only vague but there was no real clarity about the timescale in which they were supposed to be met. As promises go they had more wriggle room than the small print on one of Gordie Broon’s vows.
Even the normally tame press was distinctly underwhelmed. The UK is grinding to a halt, you can’t get a train, you have to wait hours for an ambulance, nurses are forced to use food banks as they cannot afford to feed their families, the simplest task like booking a driving test is an exercise in the impossible. Sleaze, corruption and cronyism run rampant in a government in which no one is ever held to account. People live in terror of the next energy bill, and this, THIS, is what Sunak insists are the public’s priorities, vague promises that we have all heard many times before. Not a plan to get us all out of a series of crises which have either been created by Sunak and his party or compounded by them, instead we get this vacuous management-speak b*llocks from a man who is so out of touch that he doesn’t even know how a contactless card works.
Economic forecasts are united in claiming that inflation will fall later this year anyway, so Sunak is effectively in the same position as a man who throws a ball in the air, says that he will bring it down, and then takes the credit for gravity.
Anyway, part of his ‘vision’ for the UK is to make maths compulsory until the age of 18. Has anyone told him that education is a devolved matter? “How can we stop people dying in ambulances, Prime Minister?” “Why, we can get non-existent maths teachers to teach them quadratic equations. That will sort it. It will take their minds off dying in pain on a trolley.”
Here’s a simple maths question for Sunak, since he has never won a General Election and got the support of just 42% of his own party members and a mere 38% of MPs, how come he has a mandate to pursue his policies but the pro-independence majority in Holyrood don’t?
— AUTHOR —
▫ Wee Ginger Dug, also known as Paul Kavanagh. Blogger who writes and talks about UK Politics and Scottish Independence.
▪ Text: This piece was originally published in Wee Ginger Dug and re-published in PMP Magazine on 7 January 2023, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.
▪ Cover: Flickr/Number 10. - PM Rishi Sunak. | 6 January 2023. (Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)