UK's stabilised days under Rishi Sunak as PMtext_fields
Prime Minister Sunak has been in office since 25 October. Since he moved into 10 Downing Street, the Pound has regained some value, inflation has fallen a little, the markets have calmed and there has been a general sense of a restoration of sanity and normalcy.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) is Jeremy Hunt. Hunt, 55, is a man for whom the phrase dull but decent might have been invented. The stick-thin entrepreneur is a consensus politician. He has spoken to the suits in the City. The autumn budget statement was due in October. Hunt postponed it to mid-November. It was widely deliberately leaked to test the market reaction. Hunt does not want to give the market any nasty surprises.
Hunt has said the budget will involve tax rises for all and swingeing spending cuts. This is partly because of the maladministration by Liz Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. The United Kingdom lost GBP 30 billion in only a month. But as the UK public spending is about GBP 1.1 trillion per annum this is not a lot. But 2.8% of the budget is still noticeable. Some things will be cut but others will not. Health and defence will be protected.
The markets responded positively to the budget. It has been greeted with a collective sigh of relief. It seems normalcy and sanity have been restored after the brainless bedlam of Truss' ill-starred seven weeks. It is odd that such a painful budget is regarded as good news. But the markets are confident and the Pound has risen. Sunak's Conservative Party was a terrifying 36% behind Labour when Truss was PM. The Conservatives were only 20% behind Labour a couple of weeks ago. Labour still has a commanding lead and is widely anticipated to smash the Conservatives in the 2024 election. Nevertheless, the Conservatives will do far better under Sunak than they would have done under Truss. By 2024 the Conservatives will have been in office for 14 years. Many will say it is Labour's turn. It would be unhealthy for democracy for the Conservatives to win a fifth straight victory.
The British economy has grown only anaemically since 2012. There has been an average of 1% GDP growth in those years. Wages have fallen in real terms.
The Conservatives say they are the party of low taxes. But under the Tories taxes are the highest since WW2. Inflation is the highest in 40 years. Unemployment is under 4% but rising.
The Tory Party was supposed to get immigration down with Brexit. It was net of 350 000 per annum before 2015. It is now 500,000. That is partly due to 170,000 Ukrainian refugees and some Hong Kongers. Some ask why Ukrainians are given the red-carpet treatment. Is it because they are white Christians? Why do Afghans and Iraqi refugees face being sent to Rwanda? The UK is welcoming Ukrainians to include Ukraine to keep up the fight.
Some say that the United Kingdom urgently needs immigration. Bosses say they cannot get enough waiters, chambermaids, cleaner and farm labourers. Ukrainian refugees are seen as a godsend. But life in the UK is so good for them that some shall refuse to go home after the war.
There are intermittent rail strikes. Nurses are about to take industrial action. The sky is full of chickens coming home to roost.
The United Kingdom is desperately short of doctors and nurses. Where will the UK most likely turn to? Probably India. India has about 1.5 million doctors and several million nurses. If even 1% of Indian doctors moved to the UK, then that would make an appreciable difference. The United Kingdom also wants more IT engineers, farm labourers and care workers.
Some say that Sunak will sign the 'deal of the century' with India on trade. New Delhi will want more work visas for Indians to come to the United Kingdom. This will mean a symbiotic relationship between the two nations.
The trouble is that the Conservatives pledged in 2015 to get immigration down to under 100,000. That was never achieved. It was 350, 000 per year in 2025. It is now 200,000 per annum. But no one minds now. Boosting the economy is far more important. No one objects to an Indian doctor. But many Britons do object to illegal immigration.
The most common country for people in the UK to be born abroad is India. This is unsurprising given India is the soon-to-be most populous country on earth and it has had a close relationship with the UK for 400 years.
Yours truly predicted in 2020 that Sunak would be PM. But your humble servant did not foresee the Truss interregnum. As that lasted 49 days, it scarcely counts.
In 2024 the Tories face a drubbing at the hands of Labour. Very likely Sir Keir Starmer will become PM.
The Author is a political analyst from the UK, he can be watched on YouTube: George from Ireland