Bad luck for Rishi Sunak. Like most of his predecessors, he is now suffering from the continuing curse of the 10 Downing Street. Just when Mr Sunak, Britain’s prime minister, has begun sounding confident, waves of problems have risen to hit him hard. As he turns shakier, his Conservative Party is getting the jitters over its fading prospects in the 2024 general election. The problems are so serious that politicos are asking whether Britain is broken.
The Collapses Bode Ill
Many informed politicos feel Britain is truly broken. The strong sense one gets in Britain is that the Tory Party is stuck in such a rut that it would need nothing short of a miracle to rise from the dumps of abject governance failure. The list of failures reveal Mr Sunak has not delivered in multiple areas, from traffic control to school safety, from financial management to fiscal prudence. He has failed to perform across the board.
The issue of school safety may sound trivial. However, rapidly collapsing concrete in schools across Britain has meant hundreds of them are compulsively shut down, fully or partially. The timing of the collapses too bode ill as the disaster has visited Britain right at the beginning of the new school year. Unavoidably, the issue of school safety will snowball into a major educational crisis in the coming days for Mr Sunak. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/sep/05/raac- and-ruin-what-the-concrete-crisis-means-for-uk-politics
Video Courtesy: YouTube/Guardian News
Has Only Tales of Woe
This is Mr Sunak’s moment of crisis. As schools have shut down on a large scale, education of thousands of students is in jeopardy. Chaotic closure of schools apart, crash of Britain’s air traffic control system has grounded thousands of aircraft, paralysing hundreds of air travellers. Worse, Birmingham has gone bankrupt meanwhile. This is a debilitating development as Birmingham is among Britain’s largest cities.
Add to this the case of a terror suspect fleeing from prison. The prisoner is yet to be apprehended despite a 75-hour manhunt. This reflects poorly on Britain’s prisons and the way they are managed. The Labour Party is in no mood to gloss over these stunning failures of Mr Sunak and his government. On the economic front too, Mr Sunak has only tales of woe to narrate. Inflation and cost of living are running high, and worsening. Quick to grab this golden opportunity, opposition Labour Party is relentlessly baying for Mr Sunak’s blood. https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/ideas/law/62133/the- alarming-americanisation-of-british-prisons
Desperate to Swim to Safety
As Britons are anger-struck at the Tory government’s 13 years of non-performance, they are more infuriated than ever over Mr Sunak’s lackadaisical approach to their worries. Even those wanting to fly out of the country are discovering to their dismay that the ever-busy Heathrow Airport cannot handle all inbound and outbound flights with just two runways. Inadequate infrastructure is staring Mr Sunak in the face.
International travel apart, Britain’s famed National Health Service is on the verge of collapse. The Service is yet to recover from the pandemic-precipitated crisis. Yet, Mr Sunak seems to have other priorities like projecting himself as an ardent supporter of the religious Right. These extraneous priorities are ensuring prime minister Sunak continues to be lashed by turbulent waters, even as he makes a bid to swim ashore to safety. https://richardameyer.medium.com/heres-why-england-s-nhs- is-on-the-verge-of-collapse-c53148537e15
Challenges are Many and Mounting
What is shocking average Britons is that such a dismal performance comes from Mr Sunak, someone who was known for his pandemic relief record as the Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson. Even then, he had acquired notoriety for his participation in Mr Johnson’s unrestrained parties that violated Covid norms and restrictions. The story is no different now, only the setting has changed.
Such sordid stories are hampering the prospects of the Tory Party in the 2024 general elections. The challenges Mr Sunak faces are many and mounting. Inevitably, Sky’s latest poll tracker reveals the opposition Labour enjoys an average lead of 18 points. Even as Mr Sunak sinks deeper into hot water, he continues to focus more on his Rightist agenda, egged on by radical-thinking Party colleagues like Home Secretary Suella Braverman. https://news.sky.com/story/politics-latest-rayner-to-blast-govt-levelling-up-policy-as-sham-and-a-scam-in-major- speech-on-workers-rights-12593360
Birmingham is a Tragic Climax
Where does Mr Sunak go from here? He has just a month to rescue his himself and his Party from a debacle. The time is too short to manage getting out of the rut, when all indicators point towards his exit in the next election. He may make desperate efforts to put up an impressive show in rallies and conferences. However, it is certain Britons would realise such shows are not a substitute for real performance.
As Britons feel disgusted with things not going right for them now, they are sure to vote Mr Sunak and his Party out in 2024. Just like the sewage that has been allowed to flow freely into Britain’s limpid rivers, thanks to Mr Sunak’s effete government, he is pumping discontent among voters. All these issues are sure to take centre stage soon. The Birmingham bankruptcy is only a tragic heart-rending climax to Mr Sunak’s sordid show of non-performance. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/sep/05/council s-in-england-in-crisis-as-birmingham-declares-itself-bankrupt
Ended up in a Mind-Numbing Mess
Again, the bankruptcy is a Sunak-made disaster. Birmingham has declared itself bankrupt after it had to fork out higher pay to women, who are usually paid less than men for similar jobs. The city was emblematic of poor handling of finance in local councils. Trailing this, Mr Sunak produced his prestigious policy to stem illegal immigration. This too has proved to be a flop as the struggle to shelter immigrants shows.
Whatever little Mr Sunak could do to house them was not enough. They were shifted to a retrofitted barge, but this was suspended as it was found to be generating Legionella bacteria in the waters. Meanwhile, a desperate Sunak stopped pay rises to check rising inflation. This has led to irate public sector employees striking work. Hit by soaring rents and steep mortgage costs, they have turned implacable now. https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/health-risk-bacteria- forces-uk-remove-migrants-barge-2023-08-11/
Tory MPs are Sharply Divided
The question many politically-aware Britons are asking today veer around these issues. The common poser is why Mr Sunak taking Britain towards a crash, when the country is already reeling under the after-effects of flopped Brexit negotiations, disastrous Covid pandemic and quick exits of two prime ministers. Clearly, prime minister Sunak and his Party are in a major mess, which is partly inherited and largely self-created. https://poliphoon.com/hedging-revolving-door-risks/
It is Mr Sunak’s misfortune that most of his Party’s members in the parliament do not buy his argument that everything is hunky-dory. Most of them seem to feel Mr Sunak should exit at the earliest to minimise Tory Party’s losses. As opposition Labour’s Keir Starmer is at his attacking best, things could get only hotter from now on for Mr Sunak and his Tory government. Does Mr Sunak realise what lies ahead for him on his bumpier road? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/sep/13/keir-starmer-voters-labour-leader-opposition
Rallying with Nationalist Messages
Mr Sunak seems to be sensing the approaching storm. His attempts to put up an India-friendly show at the New Delhi G-20 summit and to strike a post-Brexit free-trade deal with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi are last-ditch efforts to salvage his political career. Jut like his deal with the European Union. Mr Sunak is confident that these moves could steal the thunder from Mr Starmer, who continues to enjoy a double-digit poll lead over him. https://poliphoon.com/the-new-brexit-deal- and-new-hopes/
Yet, Mr Sunak is readying himself for the doomsday. He may be recognising his impending rout, as he has begun rallying Britons with nationalist messages. He is trying to mould himself after right-wing nationalist leaders of the world. He is also focusing on his global image by highlighting his likely success in striking a post-Brexit trade deal with India. He is shaping up to be a hardcore demagogue, as he tries to distract Britons from their domestic ills. https://www.politico.eu/article/rishi-sunak-artificial-intelligence- legacy-uk-election-2024/
The Poliphoon’s Last Word
As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Sunak had demonstrated that he was a problem-buster. However, as he gets sucked into a crisis of his own making now, problems are becoming too much for him to solve. With controversies over his family’s personal wealth refusing to go away, his desperate efforts to build rapport with his voters through informal PM-Connect events will not get him out of the rut he has managed to get himself in. He is sure to remain stuck in his rut.