EXPOSED! is a weekly series that runs that looks to unveil the dirty dealings of corporations, individuals and governments, often in collusion with each other.

We know that this is the second article in consecutive days to look at the new British Prime Minister but we need to because a) it's newsworthy, b) they don't last long so we need to do it quickly and c) because we really need to look at the person, their motivation and likely behaviours over a range of issues relating to the rights and welfare of the individual.

Who is Rishi Sunak?

The man being feted as Britain's first ever Premier of Indian descent and first Hindu too, has very traditional Conservative roots. He was born in Southampton on the affluent south coast of the UK and attended the very expensive, private Winchester School. He studied Economics at Oxford and Stanford then worked for Goldman Sachs following a spell in Silicon Valley (from which time he still carries a Green Card). He is just 42, has only been an Member of the British Parliament since 2015 and is married to the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire.

So what we have is privately educated, former banker who has little life or political experience? What could possibly go wrong?

How did he get here?

Sunak lost to Truss in the first Conservative Party leadership race of 2022.

Many people (the Conservative party membership of around 200,000) given the chance to choose between the two candidates blamed Sunak for Boris Johnson’s downfall after his resignation as Finance Minister precipitated a flood of resignations amongst Conservative ministers following yet another Johnson scandal hit the headlines.

Truss had announced generous tax cuts for higher earners, following her installation but without consulting her cabinet, amongst other disasters. She was gone within 44 days, a shorter period than the leadership contest had taken.

Just a few short weeks later and Sunak finds himself taking over from Truss, vindicated for his criticisms of her tax plans.

However, he was the only candidate to secure enough nominations to enter the renewed contest to become leader of the party, and therefore prime minister.

So what we have is a person who was soundly rejected by the membership of his political party to become their leader and has now been appointed by less than half of the party's own members of parliament.

What issues is he facing and how will he do?

Best examined through a tweetstorm:

Richard Murphy@RichardJMurphy

Rishi Sunak could be a great prime minister. That possibility cannot be denied. Equally, the probability that he will be is very small.

History does not suggest that many prime ministers appointed mid-term with their predecessor having failed turn out to be great. Sunak has two failed predecessors. That’s really not good.

That Sunak is petrified of the role he is taking on does not help. How do I know he is petrified?

First, he spoke to no one during this campaign, not even MPs.

Second, his speech to Tories at their HQ yesterday was as wooden as anything Truss has done. He is already overwhelmed.

Third, the issues he has to address justify his feeling overwhelmed, given the near impossibility of appeasing his backbenchers on almost any of them.

They could all be solved, but not by a Tory.

They include:

- Brexit, which does not and never will work.

- Division over Northern Ireland.

- Scotland wishing to leave the Union, to which Tories have no answer.

- Covid, which is crippling the NHS with more cases than ever.

- No progress on climate change.

Then there is:

- Inflation, which is not caused by wage demands, meaning what the government and Bank of England are seeking to do by raising interest rates is the wrong solution to the problem we face.

- Strikes, because people need inflation matching pay rises to survive.

Top that with:

- A cost of living crisis, which inflation policy is not addressing.

- Officially encouraged interest rate rises that massively increase the scale of the cost of living crisis.

Millions of British people face poverty and even financial destitution as a result.

It’s fair in that case to assume we will have:

- An increase in homelessness as people cannot pay their rents or mortgages.

- Overwhelmed food banks.

- Hungry children, who might be homeless too.

Mix into all this:

- The fact that vast numbers of small businesses are in deep trouble because of interest rate increases and because people who can’t pay their mortgages or rent have nothing left to spend on anything else.

- Unemployment is going to increase as a result.

Then note the problems for a man wanting to balance the government budget:

- Record NHS waiting lists.

- A failing court system.

- Social care beyond breaking.

- Education stretched to its limits.

- Increased defence demand.

- An alienated civil service.

Nothing can be cut.

Sunak’s own policies are only likely to make this worse:

- Unemployment is forecast to increase significantly by the Bank of England.

- Universal credit costs will rise.

- Falling real wage increases push up benefit claims.

- Increasing rents require more benefit payments.

The current cost of living crisis will also cut some tax revenues in real terms.

- Rents, mortgages and food will be a bigger party of spending. None have VAT on them.

- Energy has low VAT.

- Companies not making profits don’t pay tax.

- Nor do most unemployed people.

Sunak won’t be balancing any books any time soon then. But he has to:

- Keep markets happy because that is apparently his main job.

- Fill a supposed ‘black hole’ in government finances without creating new money, which he did during the Covid era.

Sunak has to succeed despite these constraints:

- Crazy demands from across the Tory party, that are irreconcilable.

- Demands for balanced budgets that are exactly the wrong economic policy for this moment.

- A kamikaze Bank of England intent on crashing the economy.

There are policies Sunak could use to address the issues he faces.

He could:

- Use QE to fund spending to address the cost of living and continuing Covid crises, quite legitimately.

- Tell the Bank of England to hold or even cut interest rates.

He could also:

- Massively reduce the interest paid by the government to banks in their funds held at the Bank of England.

- Change the rules on ISA and pension saving to provide funding for a £100 billion a year Green New Deal to deliver sustainability and beat recession.

And he could:

- Give the public services and their staff the funding it needs.

- Pay public sector employees inflation matching pay rises to stop them leaving, for good.

- Raise taxes on energy companies, banks and the wealthiest to pay for this, with ease.

But the Tories won’t let Sunak do these things. They will instead demand the impossible from him. Markets might do the same.

His inability to challenge the madness at the Bank of England will undermine him. His own lack of a mandate is fatal.

Sunak could not have been better set up to fail by anyone. And I suspect he will fail. But that is not because this country’s problems cannot be solved.

They can be, but not by a Tory constrained by that party whilst he is in awe of markets and the Bank of England.

Sunak’s task is impossible because of the constraints imposed on him and those he has chosen. And we will all pay an enormous price for that.

Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy)
Rishi Sunak could be a great prime minister. That possibility cannot be denied. Equally, the probability that he will be is very small. A thread…

So he has an almost impossible list of issues to address and is nearly paralysed in his ability to act or react!

How is he perceived and how is it going so far?

As usual, Twitter proves to be a barometer of comedic/public opinion!

And his decision to re-appoint Suella Braverman as Home Secretary (she of the Rwanda deportation plan) less than a week after she was fired by Liz Truss for multiple breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct has cast immediate doubt on his declared intention to 'govern with integrity'.

His initial comments on crypto & CBDCs, austerity and civil & human rights are hugely concerning and whilst his re-instatement of the Fracking ban (which was lifted by the former Shell executive Truss the previous week) was welcome, it was merely a return to the party's manifesto promise.  

So it's not going well, then?

And then there is the issue of his wife

Rishi Sunak's rise to power has attracted attention in India - and not just because he is the first British Asian prime minister.

His wife Akshata Murty is the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy, one of the country's best known businessmen who has been dubbed the Bill Gates of India.

Akshata Murty: Who is Rishi Sunak’s wife?
The daughter of an Indian billionaire, she has previously come under the spotlight over her tax affairs.

An heiress to a fortune worth billions, Ms Murty came under the spotlight when it emerged earlier this year that she held non-domiciled status, meaning she did not have to pay any tax on her earnings from outside the UK. She later agreed to pay UK taxes on her worldwide income.

Meanwhile in Scotland...

Is Rishi Sunak the right person to lead the UK?
Former chancellor set to become the country’s new prime minister after winning the Conservative Party’s leadership race.
New UK PM Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty richer than royals - NZ Herald
New UK PM Rishi Sunak and his heiress wife Akshata Murty have a staggering fortune.
TWEETSTORM: UK Prime Minister speaks out on CBDCs and fails TWEETSTORM: UK’s new Prime Minister speaks out on CBDCs and it’s as much about delivery as content! #rishirich

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