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The Editorial’s Perspective on Rishi Sunak: the Prime Minister is Battling for his Political Survival.


In the last ten years, Nigel Farage has caused great distress to the Conservative party and negatively altered its state. His statement about potentially re-entering politics after his time on a reality TV show will cause the Tories to feel intense sadness. The potential return of the previous leader of the Brexit party only highlights the fact that Rishi Sunak is struggling to maintain his political career as his party’s internal conflict reignites over immigration. The prime minister’s participation in the Covid inquiry is unlikely to provide much assistance. His main plan to support the restaurant industry following the initial lockdown was jokingly referred to as “eat out to help out the virus” within government circles.

The divisions within the Tory party regarding the decision to close down the country were not as deep and dangerous as those surrounding immigration, which has now become the main source of division instead of Europe. However, the divide follows a similar pattern, with each side presenting their own set of facts. Many Tory members of parliament are feeling restless because they were elected as supporters of Brexit, but have been unable to effectively control immigration as they had promised. Some believe that the proposed law by Mr Sunak restricts migrants’ rights too much, while others feel it does not go far enough. The reemergence of Mr Farage in this situation is causing turmoil within the Conservative party.

There is growing concern among members of the Tory party that their 13 years in power have led to a decline in the country’s state. Patients in the UK are experiencing longer wait times for medical care compared to those in Kenya. As a result of deteriorating infrastructure, schools and courts are being forced to close. According to Unicef, the UK has seen the largest increase in child poverty among the wealthiest 39 nations in the last decade. During his testimony, Mr. Sunak’s decisions as chancellor during the pandemic were questioned, particularly regarding his focus on the economy over society’s well-being. While campaigning to become leader of the Tory party, he expressed his belief that scientists had too much influence and criticized the cost of lockdowns early on in the pandemic. However, when pressed, Mr. Sunak only admitted to resisting restrictions in September 2020, and even shamelessly claimed he was discussing government communication strategies with the Spectator at the time.

After the pandemic, it was necessary to reassess the direction in which Britain was heading. It was observed that countries with strong welfare systems had effectively managed the emergency. However, the government’s perspective was more simplistic and selective, resembling Panglossian thinking. In terms of education, the rankings of England’s secondary school students on an international level were misleading due to unreliable data. Despite this, government officials chose to prioritize cheap political gains, potentially influenced by accusations that Mr. Sunak’s Treasury had not provided enough funding for children’s education recovery. During the Covid inquiry, he denied allegations of referring to struggling parents as “freeloaders”.

Mr Sunak has overseen rising inequality, public-sector austerity and regressive tax reforms. Today’s Conservative party has a clear interest in diverting public attention from its policy failures. Mr Sunak gambled that, in the short term, his party benefited by shifting attention from unpopular economic policies to cultural issues that inflame public opinion, such as immigration. But in the long term, this strategy strengthened the hard right – both within and without his party – so much that it has left him facing the biggest test of his premiership.

Source: theguardian.com