Sorry I’m late. It took six weeks longer, but in the end Britain has the new prime minister who had been expected in the button rooms since the fall of Boris Johnson. Rishi Sunak, 42-year-old former Chancellor of the Exchequer, at home in the world of finance and welcomed (with reservations) by the markets, was today proclaimed without adversaries leader of the Conservative Party, mostly in Westminster; and consequently, automatically, head of the government of his Majesty: the third in three years of legislature, between internal and international crisis, after the scandals and plots that in the summer had marked BoJo’s recalcitrant exit from the scene; and the fleeting but catastrophic interregnum of Liz Truss, overwhelmed by the financial and political earthquake triggered by an adventurous attempt at fiscal deficit.
His mandate begins under a cloud of shadows for the Brexit Kingdom, amid internal divisions, evident loss of credibility and stability, social divisions and repercussions of the international crisis which the Russian war in Ukraine contributes to giving a sinister background. But also in the name of unprecedented historical novelties: sealed by the landing at Downing Street number 10 of the first child of an ethnic minority of the former empire, of the first personality of Indian family roots, of the first head of government of Hindu faith and of the first never installed – in the passing of the baton with Truss at Buckingham Palace – by King Charles III, who took the throne last September 8 after the 70 years of reign of Elizabeth II.
“The United Kingdom is a great country, but there is no doubt that we are facing a profound economic challenge”, began Sunak between emotion and pride after the designation, evoking the assignment received as “the greatest privilege of life “, as well as an opportunity to” repay “what I received from a chosen homeland” to which I owe a lot “. His promise – as a super official of the State, rather than as a tribune, in the image he seems to project – is now that of “working day after day” to restore “unity and stability to the Kingdom, as to the majority party that governs it; and to “implement the commitments made with the British people” in the 2019 election manifesto, albeit with the adjustments that the economic situation obviously requires. Indications that are also a first negative response to the renewed demands for early elections (ruinous at this moment on paper for the Tories) made loudly by Keir Starmer’s Labor as well as by other opposition forces (in the lead the warlike Scottish separatists of the Snp of the first minister of the local government of Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon), in the name of an alleged lack of “democratic legitimacy” of his “coronation”. But they are also paired with keywords such as “competence and integrity”: an internal reference to the Tory parish itself aimed at marking some discontinuity – beyond the homages of the honor of the ritual weapons – both with the charismatic but rhapsodic leadership and divisive reprimanded by many against Johnson;
To give him strength is at least the clear epilogue, this time, of the umpteenth chess game on conservative leadership. Closed by acclamation only by the deputies of the parliamentary group, without the risk of that ballot in front of the militant base of members that had condemned it in September: after the renunciation last night of the idea of a sensational and extravagant attempt to return close to Downing Street on the part of BoJo (who also declares himself threateningly convinced that he only has to postpone “at the right time” the umpteenth resurrection and “still have much to give”); and after the last minute withdrawal of the only competitor in the running, Minister Penny Mordaunt, realigned with “Rishi”
Just in time to get back to getting our hands on the crucial autumn budget that the Chancellor of neo austerity Jeremy Hunt – if confirmed – will have to illustrate on Monday 31st in Parliament as the first response to the crisis and to requests for clarification on the coverage of fiscal measures, debt , cuts in public spending and forecast data on inflation and recession put forward by the markets. Not surprisingly prudent, today, like the pound, on Sunak’s day: beyond the relief of being able to see a young veteran of the City at the helm again.