Farrukh Dhondy | At last! Hedgie enters No. 10â€¦ How long will the party last?
“Now the trees are shedding leaves
It happens year after year
The earth awaits, the winds are thieves
Stealing this arboreal fur…
“O Bachchoo, don’t be silly now
These are merely autumnal seasons
We’ll never know the why or how
Though nature has renewing reasons…”
From Much Urdu About Nothing, by Bachchoo
And it came to pass, that Brutus was crowned Caesar, but not by acclamation from the people, but through the fiat of a conspiratorial clique in the Senate. And sooth to say there were in this very same Senate a considerable number of Mark Anthonys sharpening their prose and their appeal to their friends, Romans and countrymen and biding their time….
(Stop showing off with your half-baked allegories and write your wretched column --Ed; Bossy, just pointing out the historical and epic significance yaar! --fd)
Yes, Hindustan rejoices as Rishi-the-Hedgie-Sunak becomes the third UK Prime Minister in seven weeks. India sees Hedgie’s move into 10 Downing Street as a sort of final negation of British colonisation of India. The chappaterati are using phrases like “the Empire strikes back!” to welcome his ascent.
From within Britain, gentle reader, it seems a bit different. For me, Hedgie’s appointment as PM is not an Obama moment. By which I mean that Hedgie wasn’t elected by the British electorate. The Opposition parties and even a few Tory MPs, lords and grandees are calling for the legitimising of government through a general election. Will Hedgie, his Cabinet and party, which has a majority of more than 70 in Parliament, accede to the demand? No way Sanjay! All the public opinion polls give Labour a 30 per cent lead over the Tories and that would mean a historic wipe out of Hedgie, his gang and even for decades, the Party.
The first thing Hedgie said, standing at a lectern outside the revolving doors of 10 Downing Street, was that he would unite the party. In keeping with that pledge, he has appointed a Cabinet of people who have even very recently opposed each other’s policies. The prime example is his appointment of Jeremy Hunt to continue as chancellor of the exchequer and of Suella Braverman to return as home secretary. It’s no secret that Mr Hunt, chancellor in Liz Truss’ Cabinet, was desperately in favour of a trade deal with India, which Suella’s public statements about restricting Indian students and workers from entering Britain was certain to scupper. Ms Truss and Mr Hunt forced Suella, then the home secretary, to resign.
This Cruella didn’t publicly admit that she was forced out and said she resigned because she had broken the ministerial code in error, sending government documents on her private email to people not entitled to have them. She apologised and claimed to have voluntarily resigned. A verifiable lie!
Both Hedgie and Cruella are Brexiteers. Jeremy Hunt was not. Now Hunt (there is a nickname in the satirical magazines for him, but it’s not appropriate for the “family column” of this paper), Hedgie and Cruella know that Brexit has caused irreparable damage to the British economy, its workforce in the building and plumbing trades, in hospitality and cruelly and fatally in the National Health Service. The one shibboleth that Brexitiers repeat is that being outside the EU gives them the opportunity to make trade deals with the rest of the world. The world is not buying.
Narendraji congratulated Hedgie on his appointment as PM and said he looked forward to working with him. Hedgie has now brought Hunt, who forced Cruella’s resignation, and Cruella herself back into his Cabinet. How will that work? Dissent within, which will manifest itself sooner or later?
On Wednesday Hedgie faced his first PM’s Questions in Parliament. He was asked why he had brought someone who had broken the ministerial code a week ago, back into the Cabinet.
He said Cruella had apologised and she would as his home secretary fight crime and “secure Britain’s borders”. This Cruella, daughter of Indian-origin immigrants and asylum seekers from Africa, has openly declared that she wants Britain to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights, so that she can deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda. Hedgie, also the child of Indian immigrants from West Africa, who moved to the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, seems to agree with Cruella’s policy of having settled in Britain and pulling up the ladder behind them. Both of them are playing to the racist gallery with their tough talk on “securing borders” which even King Charles III, when he was the Prince of Wales, opposed as inhuman and “appalling”.
Hedgie was also asked at PM’s Questions whether he would tax the wealthy rather than the poor and hard-working. Would he specifically abolish the status of “non-doms” -- billionaires such as his wife, who dodge taxes by claiming to be residents of foreign countries. Answer came there none. His wife Akshata was such a “non-dom” when Hedgie was chancellor, but when it was discovered and published all over the media, Ms Sunak opportunistically relented and changed her status, paying a few million of her unearned loot as UK taxes.
So, apart from the supposed Judas act, the Hedgie Cabinet’s attempted solutions to the hundreds of problems facing this destabilised and chaotic body politic may cause fatal rifts in his parliamentary party, setting loose several possible horsemen of several probable apocalypses.
But let’s not end on a negative note. After all, he is the first ethnic blah blah… proving… etc.
Celebrate instead with a verse:
An ambitious hedge-funder called Rishi
Despite being Indian did wish he
Could harvest the glory
Of being Prime Tory
Though his wife’s tax-dodge status was fishy!