Rishi Sunak’s appointment as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom is being said to be a blessing only for the elite of the country.
Rishi Sunak, born in Southampton to African immigrant parents of Punjabi-Indian descent, will be UK’s first Hindu and non-white prime minister.
The prime minister was raised in an increasingly wealthy family and attended some of Britain’s most prestigious academic institutions. His upbringing, and socialization with the elite of the country, has been highlighted by commentators in the UK.
Sunak’s background has received extensive media attention, with critics painting him as “privileged” and detached from the difficulties faced by regular Britons.
His opulent private life has also come under scrutiny, with British media allegations surfacing about a lucrative employment position he held at Goldman Sachs in his early 20s, connections to Cayman Islands-based investment companies, and opulent living arrangements in California.
Leader of the Labour Party in UK, Keir Starmer, has said that with low salaries, high prices, and a crisis in the cost of living, the Conservatives have collapsed the economy and the public required a new beginning and a say in how Britain will develop.
Congratulations, Rishi Sunak, on becoming Prime Minister and making history as the first British Asian PM.
The Tories have crashed the economy, with low wages, high prices and a cost of living crisis.
The public needs a fresh start and a say on Britain’s future.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) October 25, 2022
Host Mehdi Hasan stated that though he was delighted by a non-white British of Indian descent becoming the prime minister, anyone could become the prime minister “if they go to the finest schools, amass gigantic fortunes, and align themselves with a rightwing, reactionary establishment”.
"Yes, 'anyone can become prime minister!' – if they go to the finest schools, amass gigantic fortunes, and align themselves with a rightwing, reactionary establishment."
Me, on Rishi Sunak becoming prime minister of the UK:pic.twitter.com/5ReOh2E6Xo
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) October 25, 2022
British lawmaker Zahra Sultana said that Rishi Sunak would be a “super-rich prime minister for the super-rich”.
Rishi Sunak will be a super-rich Prime Minister, governing for the super-rich. pic.twitter.com/65mpdi0UwS
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 24, 2022
With a combined net worth of £730 (€834) million, Sunak and his wife, IT heiress Akshata Murty, were ranked 222nd in The Sunday Times’ list of the wealthiest Britons in 2022. The latter was involved in a well-publicized tax-related incident earlier this year because of her position as a non-domiciled UK resident.
Rishi Sunak, with a reported wealth of over £730ml, told us it was the “right plan” to cut universal credit & raise workers taxes; and “silly” to help with energy costs. At the same time he gave £7.3bl of tax cuts to his banker mates.
We have the wrong people in charge.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) October 24, 2022
Sunak struggled with the COVID-19 crisis, which hit Britain in March 2020, while serving as finance minister.
The “Eat Out to Help Out” program, introduced in the summer of 2020, was the most renowned of this financial assistance program. Through the scheme, the government offered restaurants and pubs around the nation partial subsidies on food and non-alcoholic beverages.
The step has also had its share of criticism.
It’s great that while it was proven people of colour were affected more by covid Rishi Sunak our new PM was driving up infections by blocking lockdowns and “Eat Out To Help Out” schemes https://t.co/MVZMWgxuYh
— marcus 🇧🇧🏳️🌈 (@marcusanddusty) October 23, 2022
Such incentives, however, were perceived as driving Britain back into the second wave of COVID infections and ran counter to the pandemic-related rules and advice of health officials.
Sunak ultimately left his position on July 5, 2022, just two days before Johnson, claiming fundamental conflicts between his and the prime minister’s economic visions.
The opinion amongst analysts, opinion makers, and the general public are divided between Sunak as a representation of the rich British in politics and a young aspiring politician who can effectively conduct damage control of the economy.