- Date published:
8:06 am, November 16th, 2023 - 2 comments
Categories: humour, leadership, Satire, uk politics - Tags: nick kelly, Rishi Sunak, satire, Suella Braverman, UK Conservative Party, UK Home Secretary, UK politics
Originally posted on Nick Kelly’s Blog One has to really feel for those trying to write political satire these days. How can a satirist be more ridiculous than many of our political leaders they wish to lampoon? Case in point, yesterday’s “resignation letter” from sacked former UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
Just to recap. From July to September, the UK effectively had a caretaker government while the Tory Party conducted its internal leadership race. The top two candidates were Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Despite Sunak winning the support of more MPs, Truss won 57.4% of the party membership vote and became Prime Minister. It was a disaster.
In just 49 days as PM, Truss destroyed the myth that the Conservative Party is good at managing the economy. On 25 October 2022, Truss was forced to resign. The Conservatives were desperate not to go through another leadership ballot. Worse, there were fears Truss’s disgraced predecessor may stage a comeback. By this stage, the Tories were 30% behind in the polls.
Sunak became Prime Minister, despite losing the membership vote by being the only candidate. He did this by doing deals with the likes of Suella Braverman, who had been forced to resign as Home Secretary days earlier for breaching cabinet rules, and Dominic Raab who faced bullying accusations at the time and later was forced to resign.
Sunak did not need to do these grubby deals to stitch up support. In October 2022, Rishi Sunak was the only credible option. He did not need to do deals with people like Braverman and he would be in a much stronger position now if he had not.
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court that the Government’s Rwanda asylum policy is unlawful is the icing on the cake. Braverman is right in a sense, the government has wasted a year and an Act of Parliament on the Rwanda policy. But she is also completely wrong about the ECHR and the HRA. Instead, the UK government should have found a solution to the asylum crisis that complied with Human Rights legislation and international obligations. The response to the boat people crisis has been a failure by this government. Caused in no small part by deals done by Rishi Sunak to shore up support from the right of the Conservative Party.
For the political satirist, it is hard to come up with a more ridiculous situation. It would be all very funny were it not real, which instead is just frustrating and depressing. Rishi Sunak’s legacy as leader is not looking great.