By Michael Addai
At normal circumstances, the elevation of the first person of colour to be a United Kingdom prime minister by the Conservative parliamentary party would have been a huge cause for celebration but unfortunately these are not normal times as people are filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and panic at the current precarious global economic and political situation.
Nevertheless, the Conservative Party managed to, once again, capture global attention on the UK. The Labour Party and to a certain extent the Liberal Democrats have long since embraced integration and multiculturalism but for all their talk of inclusion and diversity they are yet to select a female let alone a person of colour to lead them.
So, for what is worth, the Conservative Party has the penchant of setting the pace of choosing diverse people albeit from the same establishment to lead them. Its choice of the first and only Jewish UK Prime Minister to date, Benjamin Disraeli, was a shock at that time. Then it followed it up later with the choice of the first female UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and since then there had been two more in quick succession, Theresa May and most recently Liz Truss. And now the party has selected the first ethnic minority, a practising Hindu and a south Asian as its leader. Besides that, the party has chosen people of colour, over the years, to fill important high profile cabinet positions, notably the appointment of the first Black British, Kwasi Kwarteng and James Cleverly to the positions of Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Foreign Secretary, respectively.
As to whether the party makes these symbolic appointments and does so by choosing individuals with ideological purity to use them as fronts to do its bidding or further its agenda is a matter of one’s opinion, but it is still worth noting that the party has been leading in this milestone of firsts and should be given the credit for. In all, these elevations are the proud moments for the whole of Great Britain and should be celebrated as such.
Thus, the recent leadership turmoil in the Tory party led to the choice of a person of colour, Rishi Sunak, a British-born of Indian descent whose parents emigrated to the UK from east Africa, as the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Even though this is historic and unbelievable, the crowning of someone who was rejected as a leader by the Conservative Party members as recently as 6 weeks ago to succeed as prime minister is as bad as it tastes and sounds because the Tories coronation was complete but this time without a say from the party members let alone the public.
This brings to question the legitimacy of this government and the conservatives in power. Of course, in a parliamentary system of government people elect the party and not the person but it still requires someone to stand for the party to receive the mandate from the people. So how could it be justifiable for an unelected prime minister to ram down the throat of the British people, a severe austerity in recent history at a time of instability and profound economic difficulties? This is even more pertinent when the person, Rishi Sunak, who is going to lead the government to administer this austerity pill is noted to be enormously wealthy. He is reported to be one of the wealthiest people in Great Britain, and this, apparently, is the first time in history that the residents of 10 Downing Street (Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty) are richer than those in Buckingham Palace. Hence, the very idea of a super-rich and posh leader preaching and administering austerity to the working-class and middle-class is going to be very tenuous, unpalatable, and probably not going to sit well with very many people — a recipe for further instability.
Undoubtedly, the irony of Brexit here cannot be lost on many people and when it finally dawns on most Brexiteers/Leavers — who will mostly be the recipients of the austerity measures — that they cannot escape this irony of having an unelected government led by a very wealthy individual without a fresh mandate, it will not be funny anymore. Choosing a new prime minister consecutively but this time without consulting the Conservative Party members let alone the people is a breach of protocol and an unprecedented revolving door of instability in recent history especially when a general election does not seem to be any time soon for political expediency. This should not be turned into a joke anymore.
Whereby the recent chaos in the Conservative Party could be attributed to its adherence to trickle-down economics, it could be argued that the instability in the party that has affected the country over the last seven years, is one of the lingering effects of Brexit, the elephant in the room. The Tories continuous failure to adequately address the aftermath of Brexit and their own internal EU problem will continue to cause instability in their midst and unfortunately drag the UK along with it. And it is a cause for concern for many people, thanks to David Cameron’s spree of political adventurism made possible by the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg, unglamorous decision to form a coalition government with the Conservative Party in 2010.
This is how stubbornness and headstrongness in trickle-down policies or for that matter any political/religious beliefs without common sense leads to.
With three Prime Ministers in less than two months, the legitimacy question still lingers on as to how many unelected prime ministers without a proper mandate is Great Britain going to have within the next few months before a general election is called? It is time for a general election.
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