Yes, Sunak can do it like Obama

His message that only he could unite the party to avoid a snap election found many takers, and the Tories backed him without hesitation this time

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Mon 24 Oct 2022, 11:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Oct 2022, 11:18 PM

Rishi Sunak’s meteoric rise as prime minister of the United Kingdom should be viewed as a triumph of Britain’s diversity and pluralism. It also proves the resilience and strength of its democracy after the political feuds and turbulence of the past year that saw the exits of two prime ministers in quick succession. We say meteoric because it has taken the youngest British PM in 200 years just seven years as a politician to occupy the highest political office in the country. Behind the Indian-origin Sunak’s easy victory in his second Conservative leadership race is a story of grit, talent, and perseverance. Simply put, the TINA factor worked in his favour during his no-contest against Penny Mordaunt. He built an early lead and stayed the course with his economic agenda which held him in good stead among party MPs after outgoing PM Liz Truss made a mess of a bad financial situation in 45 days. His message that only he could unite the party to avoid a snap election found many takers, and the Tories backed him without hesitation this time, though former PM Boris Johnson threatened to put a spanner in the works. However, the former PM's brush with controversy and his penchant for breaking the law saw him limp away without getting into the ring.

Sunak’s victory in the Tory leadership race could be viewed in some quarters as Britain’s ‘Obama moment’ that could transform the country and its political culture as it embraces immigrants and people of colour to run the country. Great Britain is now new Britain, charged by the energy of people from its former colonies who have settled in the country; generations of people who worked hard and rose to the top of their chosen professions. As head of the ruling Tories, Sunak heralds a political shift in Britain towards more inclusive governance that values and cherishes multiculturalism at its core as it heads towards a deeper embrace of its colonial past. Sunak and others have been called 'twice migrants' - those who migrated from India to Africa before settling in the UK.

The future PM’s family first travelled from India to Uganda, before unrest in that country forced them to move to the UK. His father is a GP while his mother is a pharmacist. Sunak was educated at Stanford where he obtained an MBA degree. He worked as a banker and is considered to be the richest MP. His wife is the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire and has braved a smear campaign for dodging taxes, though it was entirely legal. Sunak himself was targeted for his apparent wealth and elitism in his previous bid for the top job. But he has learnt from his past campaign and mistakes. He's grown up and is in charge now. The economic medicine will be bitter, but better times lie ahead for the country. Yes, he can pull it off like Obama.

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