Will Britain accept a Non-White Person From An Ethnic Minority As Its Prime Minister in 2022? Racism still exists in the UK.
The United Kingdom is in search of its next Prime Minister after Boris Johnson resigned from the post after a series of controversies and scandals. The leadership contest in the Conservative Party proceeds in a very interesting way.
First, the number of candidates for the post is whittled down by Conservative lawmakers in successive rounds of voting until the final two are announced.
The 42-year-old former investment banker and hedge fund manager, Sunak, is speculated to be tantalizingly close to clinching the premiership for himself though significant challenges still remain to be overcome.
This has generated a lot of excitement back in India as Rishi is of Indian origin, and many feel this would benefit us immensely. But it is too early to count the chickens.
These two candidates will be voted by the card-carrying members of the Conservative Party, who number around 180,000, on September 5, 2022. The one who gets the majority of these votes will be declared the leader of the party and will replace Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister of the UK.
Rishi Sunak is clearly the frontrunner when it comes to being the favourite of party MPs, but the larger members of the Tory Party do not seem to have a favourable opinion of him.
Most of them are White Protestants and would show a preference for someone from their community, which means Liz Truss. This could mean the difference between victory and defeat for Rishi, whose campaign slogan has been “Ready For Rishi.”
Speculation is rife in political circles of Britain that Boris Johnson was miffed and enraged with Rishi for resigning from his cabinet, which triggered a landslide of resignations, ultimately forcing him to submit his own.
As a result, he is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that anyone but Rishi is able to make it to the top spot and is conspiring day in and day out to ensure it.
The poll surveys indicate that in the final round of voting, Rishi may end up on the losing side as most Tory members prefer Liz Truss as the PM. Sunak is acutely aware of this ground reality and has gone all out to woo the base of the Tories calling himself a real Brexiteer.
With the passage of every day, the contest is becoming acerbic, with the personal life of Sunak being discussed as tabloid gossip.
A topic of hot debate is his wife, Akshata’s wealth, given the fact that she is the daughter of tech billionaire and Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. This has allowed Akshata to save millions of pounds in taxes taking advantage of a law which exempts non-domicile residents from paying taxes on income earned abroad.
Rishi Sunak was born on May 12, 1980, in Southampton, England. His father, Yashvir Sunak, was a general practitioner doctor, while his mother, Usha Sunak, ran a pharmacy. His Indian-origin grandparents had immigrated to the UK from East Africa in 1960s.
He attended a prestigious private school named Winchester College. While in school, he was the head boy as well as the editor of the school paper. He then went on to graduate from Oxford University in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
To support himself financially during holidays, Rishi Sunak worked as a waiter in a family friend’s restaurant named Southampton Curry House. He was fond of cricket and football during his college days.
Having received a Fulbright Scholarship, he went to Stanford University in the United States to complete his MBA. It was at Stanford that he met Akshata Murthy, daughter of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, who he would later marry. They tied the knot in 2009. He is now the proud father of two daughters.
His professional career is quite stellar, having worked with Goldman Sachs as an investment banker from 2001 to 2004. With this early success and experience, he became a partner at two hedge funds where he was helping small British companies to grow.
His foray into politics began in 2015 when he was elected as an MP from Richmond in Yorkshire on a Conservative Party ticket. He was later inducted as a junior minister in Theresa May’s government.
He campaigned for the leave EU referendum as well as Brexit, which made him a vocal supporter of Boris Johnson. In 2019, Boris Johnson appointed him as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
He got catapulted into centerstage of British national politics when he was made the Chancellor to the Exchequer or the Finance Minister in 2020. His economic management during the pandemic was widely appreciated across the political spectrum and earned him kudos galore. But the wave of goodwill subsided and did not last long.
Of late, he has been severely criticized for raising taxes and mocked for being out of touch with the ground reality.
His tax policy has raised the cost of living for the average Brit, but Rishi is unflinching in his belief that these are necessary measures for the economic health of UK and the economic security of future generations.
This is a major point of difference between him and the other contender for the top post, Liz Truss. Both of them, though, have a hawkish stand when it comes to China and agree that it is a big threat to the world.
A question that dominates the political discourse, not just in Britain but in many parts of the world where Britain matters, is will white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant Britain accept a colored person belonging to the racial and ethnic minority as its Prime Minister?
Another question which is equally pertinent is whether the Conservative Party, which is a White Boys’ Club, will choose a non-White as their leader?
This race has revealed surprising facts about the ruling Conservative Party, which is completely contradictory to what is generally believed about the party or expected from the party.
Not with standing the fact that almost 97% of members of the Tory Party are white, the Tories have been the trailblazer when it comes to increasing racial and gender representation in UK politics in general and the House of Commons in particular.
This is quite contrary to the public perception of the Tories. It was the Conservative Party that gave Britain its first woman Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Theresa May, Britain’s second woman Prime Minister also belonged to the Tory Party.
Liz Truss will be the third woman Prime Minister of Britain from the Conservative Party if the party chooses her as their leader. Of late, the Tories have appointed several people from racial and ethnic minorities to top positions in the government in an attempt to be in sync with the reality of the multi-racial and multi-cultural country that Britain has become now.
This process was given a big impetus by David Cameron, who gave many persons from minority communities tickets to contest elections from seats which were Tory strongholds. This resulted in a lot of minorities getting elected to the House of Commons. Sajid Javid became first the home secretary and later the finance minister of Britain in 2018-19. Following the same tradition, even Rishi Sunak was given a chance.
Will lady luck smile on Rishi Sunak? There are many a slip between the lip and the cup. But if Rishi does manage to win lady luck’s heart and is chosen as the leader of the Conservative Party on September 5, 2022, he would be creating history by becoming the first Prime Minister of Britain from an ethnic minority and of Indian origin. That would be poetic justice for India, given the fact that India was a British colony for nearly 200 years.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma