Kishwar Desai | Excitement over Rishi at No. 10 as UK waits for his Nov. eco plan
Deccan Chronicle.| Kishwar Desai
It has been a complete reversal of fortune for Rishi who had so recently lost the race to Ms Truss
In fact, the appointment of Rishi Sunak has been appreciated by many, especially due to his Indian origin, and the Tory Party has been praised for being much more accommodating of the minority communities than Labour. AP
As always the weather reflected the storms that were battering Westminster in the last few weeks. At that time, as it rained ceaselessly, the Tory Party went through endless upheavals. However, though we did not know it immediately, there was to be a clear silver lining for all of us. As the former Prime Minister Liz Truss fell on her sword, and the prime ministerial race was opened once again, everyone feared there may be another long-drawn leadership battle while the country suffered its worst economic crisis in recent times.
Fortunately, there was a quick decision on how to select the next Prime Minister, and befittingly enough, on Diwali day, Rishi Sunak was appointed the country’s next leader. The sun came out and has been shining ever since...
It has been a complete reversal of fortune for Rishi who had so recently lost the race to Ms Truss. But today he holds the proud distinction of being the country’s first non-White Prime Minister, and a Hindu at that. So the media gleefully has reported the appearance of diyas and rangoli at 10, Downing Street last week.
Despite most of the television anchors from India enquiring about any racism experienced by Rishi during the leadership race, we have to say, as we told Indian media robustly, we saw none. In fact, there was a warm welcome for him from the Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, when he won, and there is an undoubted bounce in the opinion polls which indicate that Rishi is leading ahead of Labour on the economic handling of the country. But overall it does appear that the Opposition party has the lead and people would prefer a change from the Tories.
However, Rishi has two years to change that perception. And in the meanwhile let’s rejoice that one of ours is leading the country. However, never forget, that he is British born and made in the UK.
Meanwhile, there has been a lot written about Rishi and his family in the last week, and now there is little we do not know about the MP from Richmond. Every day we see a nugget of information — including his life as a hedge fund manager. The problem with the British press is that it is ruthless in digging out information — so we sure this is an ongoing exercise. Fortunately, Rishi also has his own PR arsenal, and we are now being shown behind-the-scenes videos of how he entered No. 10 and the enthusiastic reception he received. This PR machinery is not new — and David Cameron, when he was Prime Minister, used to also give us vignettes of him and his family for some time. However, one suspects that there is so much media scrutiny anyway that maintaining this PR exercise may be irrelevant.
But let us see!
Right now UK is "ready for Rishi" and we breathlessly await the announcement of the November statement on the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, it was just the right time to see a play based on the book, To Kill A Mockingbird. This complex book, dealing with apartheid in America is a painful return to a past —- which we have forgotten post Obama in the US. And now post Rishi Sunak in the UK.
The multi-layered play is running at the Gielgud theatre in London and reprises a deeply divided society, when innocents were hanged for crimes they had not committed only due to the colour of their skins. Though the play is nowhere as powerful as the book, it was particularly touching to watch it with a multiracial audience. Many in the audience may have remembered their own ancestors as they watched the humiliation of those who were Black — denigrated once upon a time in America.
Of course, things have changed dramatically both in America and the UK. In fact, the appointment of Rishi Sunak has been appreciated by many, especially due to his Indian origin, and the Tory Party has been praised for being much more accommodating of the minority communities than Labour.
As the political environment settles down in the UK, many are also appreciating the quietness and dignity with which the Indian community has forged ahead in Britain. Usually, whether they migrated from the African countries or from India, or any other part of the world, they have integrated themselves into the majority community and worked hard.
It is this which is being talked about today with the rise of Rishi Sunak.
And one wonders now if he will be the chief guest for next year’s Republic Day in India? What a compelling moment that will be— with the Indian Prime Minister and UK Prime Minister — both of Indian origin! Who could have imagined that — 75 years ago when India got its Independence?
Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.