Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeKathy GyngellWho is Rishi Sunak? 

Who is Rishi Sunak? 


RISHI Sunak was installed as Britain’s third Prime Minister in seven weeks by the Parliamentary Party on Monday without the mandate of the grassroots, who in their disgust and fury are said to be deserting the party in droves. (The Conservative Party website reportedly crashed due to the sheer number of members accessing it to revoke their memberships.)

The question that will be asked over the coming weeks is whether this enormously wealthy former Goldman Sachs banker who is so closely associated and identified with the new global elite can hope to represent the increasingly impoverished people of the British Isles. While he may be able to rely on the support of international institutions that eluded the ousted and vilified Liz Truss, will this be enough to keep him in office, stop the economy going into freefall or save the Tories from widely predicted electoral oblivion?

Much depends on who Sunak the man really is; on what he really stands for and whether his professed belief in family values and personal enterprise trumps his international and metropolitan elite interests.

His City career notably saw him working for Sir Chris Hohn, the billionaire ‘philanthropist’ who runs the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI) which manages about $44billion of assets. TCI is known in the City and on Wall Street as one of the most aggressive activist investors, and made a gain of 23.3 per cent in 2021. Hohn is the biggest individual donor to Extinction Rebellion (XR) which continues to cause criminal damage by staging high-profile climate protests. Hohn’s justification is that ‘humanity is aggressively destroying the world with climate change and there is an urgent need for us all to wake up to this fact’. In pursuit of this cause he encourages shareholders to vote against the directors of banks ‘who are hiding their exposure to climate risk.’  Does our new PM, a partner in TCI for three years from 2006, endorse Hohn’s ideological and interventionist policy?

Sunak’s personal financial arrangements suggest numerous interests outside the UK, not least those of his father-in-law, Narayan Murthy.  As co-founder of Infosys, which provides business consulting, information technology and outsourcing services, he is worth $3.2billion and is often referred to as the ‘Steve Jobs of India’. Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murthy, has a $715million stake in the company. Together the Sunaks are said to be twice as rich as King Charles with an estimated worth of $810million.

(Sunak’s hamfisted attempts to appear as a man of the people – in one memorable incident by borrowing and filling up a Kia at a Sainsbury’s petrol station before failing to understand how to use a contactless debit card – have fallen flat.)

Indeed, the new PM’s British loyalties were called into question earlier this year when it was revealed he had continued to hold a US Green Card, allowing him permanent residence there. This necessitated his filing of US tax returns, a peculiar situation for the holder of one of the United Kingdom’s great offices of state. Only in October 2021, ahead of his first American trip as a UK government minister, did he return his Green Card. Other arrangements have raised eyebrows, particularly his wife’s non-domicile status, meaning she paid no tax on income earned abroad while living in the UK.

For all this, Sunak is seen as an emblem of immigrant success. Born in Southampton in 1980 to parents of Indian descent (his father a GP, his mother a pharmacist) he attended a private prep school, Winchester public school (where he was head boy), Oxford and Stanford (as a Fulbright Scholar). He spent 14 years in the City, then despite his negligible political experience (a university internship at CCHQ) he was parachuted into one of the safest Conservative seats in the United Kingdom – Richmond in Yorkshire, a town and county with which he had no ties – as is the modern practice of his party. It did not dampen his appeal to the local Conservative Association members who elected him as their prospective parliamentary candidate with a clear majority in the first round.

He became an MP in 2015 and rapidly rose through the ranks to the office of Chancellor in 2020, an impressive career path for a hard-working and clever young man.

Sunak presided over the Treasury during the pandemic. Although frequently describing himself as a ‘Thatcherite’ his record is one of massive expansion of the state expenditure, estimated at 24 per cent in two years, and the most monstrous stealth tax raid of all time. The furlough scheme cost a total of £70billion. His ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ cost £850million. It is estimated that up to £6.4billion was fraudulently claimed or lost over 2020-21. As described on TCW, he was the Chancellor who couldn’t say no, whether to increasing taxes to the highest level for 70 years, to extending furlough or to lockdown itself at a total cost to the country of some £500billion.

Sunak’s belated lockdown confessions, saying two years after the event that he opposed Government policies while doing nothing at the time, are a shocking indictment of both his character and leadership potential. He did not resign as Chancellor until July this year amid the various intrigues and ‘scandals’ that had lethally engulfed the Johnson government.

It seems that Sunak was well prepared for Johnson’s exit. The website domain for ‘‘ was registered in late 2021 in clear anticipation of a future leadership bid, with Sunak finding help in the website’s creation in political consultants who were deeply involved in the anti-Brexit campaign. 

Though his bid for leadership failed, with Liz Truss chosen by party members, the combined forces of the parliamentary Conservative Party, the media, the IMF and the Central Banks displeased at this choice meant that Sunak’s path to power was nevertheless either engineered or inevitable.

The man who now sits in No 10, according to his supporters, will bring stability to spooked markets. Yet how much the turmoil really was to do with so-called Trussonomics as opposed to worldwide economic conditions is questionable. It is assumed that Sunak will steer the British state into less turbulent (aka declinist – high tax and spend, low productivity, high inflation and shrinking private sector) waters. How much less turbulent, as former Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King has indicated, is less than certain. 

Other than being an alleged ‘safe pair of hands’, there is remarkably little insight into what exactly Sunak believes, or what constitutes his world view. His claims to be of a Thatcherite bent seem laughable in the face of his time in No 11. He is also a stated proponent of central banking digital currencies (CBDCs). This would give the government complete control over all your finances. If it sounds like something that the Chinese Communist Party would think up, that is because it is. The People’s Bank of China is currently in the process of rolling out the digital RMB. This effort goes hand-in-hand with already developed technologies in China and its Social Credit System, advocated by the World Economic Forum and with whom Infosys is a technology partner.

Sunak himself is a relative dove when it comes to China, arguing last year for a more nuanced and reasoned approach to Beijing, with heightened co-operation across a range of sectors. It is for these reasons that he was the favoured candidate of official Chinese state media outlets during the first Conservative leadership election. 

Many have called Sunak’s accession to power a globalist coup. There are certainly links between his and his wife’s business interests through Infosys and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Infosys is listed as an ‘official partner‘ of the WEF, which has praised it for being a ‘global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting’. Numerous Infosys executives have written articles for the WEF, with the firm’s president advocating the rollout of central bank digital currencies. 

Whether Sunak is a WEF stooge or just the favoured candidate of the rigid and increasingly ossified managerial elite that unquestioningly rules the country, one thing is for certain: he is not the choice of any convincing part of the country, lacking even the veneer of credibility lent by a vote of Conservative Party members. He is the British Mario Draghi – installed into power by those who believe that they know best and that the little people are better not consulted. 

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