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Will Rishi Sunak's bold gamble pay off? First position

Will Rishi Sunak's bold gamble pay off?  First position
Will Rishi Sunak's bold gamble pay off?  First position

 


May 23: On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, Rishi Sunak, Britain's first Prime Minister of Indian origin, announced a snap election on July 4, more than five months before the scheduled deadline of December 17, 2024. What could be more ironic? ? It was precisely on this day in 1776 that thirteen American colonies declared their independence from their former monarch, King George III of Great Britain. This acceleration of election campaigns is, without doubt, Sunak's biggest and boldest gamble. A final attempt to avoid the ousting of the Conservative Party, in power for fourteen years.

As recent polls show, the ruling party is trailing the Labor Party, its main competitor, by double digits. Sunak, himself, fared little better than his immediate predecessors, Liz Truss, whose tenure was extremely short-lived, and the more colorful, if controversial, Boris Johnson. Sunak, for his part, hopes to salvage the situation by taking advantage of the relatively healthy economy and his recent success in passing a law to deport unwanted foreigners and refugees to distant Rwanda, in Africa.

Will this deter the hordes of illegal immigrants flooding the UK's shores, whose numbers are expected to increase even more during the warmer, more hospitable summer months? No one can say for sure. But the prospect of being diverted to Rwanda may well be somewhat surprising and unwelcome for future refugees, fleeing war, climate change and poverty, in the hope of a better life in today's Britain. 'today not so different.

It could be argued that Sunak has little to lose and so there is relatively little downside to bringing the election forward. On the other hand, if the Conservatives can somehow manage to give voters the impression that they are actually better for the future of the UK than their Labor rivals, it may -still be a chance to return to power. Is this why Sunak also announced compulsory national service for all able-bodied British subjects, women and men, aged over eighteen? Would this appeal to patriotism, disciplining the young person to reinforce his image as a more decisive and desirable leader?

The fact is that on several fronts, conservatives have failed to preserve law and order to the extent desired, they have failed to protect the economic interests of ordinary citizens reeling from high unemployment, they have failed failed to bring down rising interest rates and the cost of living. Is it too late to repair the damage done to their flagging reputation? The Labor Party, on the other hand, although it hopes to profit from dashed expectations, its opposition to the powers that be and its appeal to the working and suffering classes, also has a legacy of indecision, confusion and internal conflicts. Not to mention the scandals and resignations.

Sunak's main competitor, seen by many as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer. Starmer is seen as being relatively middle-of-the-road in what is traditionally a left-wing and, as some would say, big-spending British party. An Oxford-trained criminal lawyer, Stramer was knighted in 2014 for his services to his country as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and head of the Crown Prosecution Service from 2008 to 2013.

Following the rout of the last general election in 2019, former Labor leader Jeremy Corbin resigned. Starmer was elected leader of the Labor Party in his place. Since then, he has been trying to move the ideological ship closer to the center. Right now, his credibility is high with the public, while the Conservative leadership seems a little overexposed and jaded. If voters decide the time for change has come, Starmer could well be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, the Labor Party has the legacy of being identified with what some of its critics have called the Church of Victimhood. The victims are not just estranged Palestinians whose cause enjoys enthusiastic, often violent, support among the UK's large Muslim population. Starmer has also done his best to clean up the stains of anti-Semitism that have sullied the Labor Party in the past. Corbyn himself was supposedly guilty of this mortal sin. Furthermore, the UK's most disadvantaged will certainly expect greater sympathy from a new Labor government, as will victims in the UK.

But just outside the kingdom's gates, on the very shores of this small island nation, lie swarms of refugees and illegals who threaten to invade, if not overthrow, this once mighty and imperialist power. Who will pay for these victims? Many voters will be concerned about what a Labor government would do for these poorest immigrants and whether it will come at their expense. Still unwelcome government spending, perhaps?

What about the government-run national health system? Doesn’t that also require more money? Waiting lists for a simple doctor's appointment, let alone complex and life-threatening surgeries, are very long and very high in the UK. Let's not forget overpriced and underefficient public transport. Last but not least, law and order in major cities, including London, is deteriorating. Will the situation get worse under the Labor regime, considered gentler precisely towards those regions of the country, made up mainly of immigrants and the country's poor, who, fairly or unfairly, are associated to crime?

Some dire predictions see this as a decisive election that will see splits and new political configurations. From this perspective, the British were tired of two-horse racing. They want their ballots to include more candidates, even parties. In this sense, July 4th resonates in the sense that the English themselves have had enough of their Parliament, of which they have boasted for so long of being the Mother of democracies. Instead, they want better governance, both more effective and less costly. This is not what Mahatma Gandhi, quoting Carlyle, dubbed the world's speaking room in Hind Swaraj (1909). Of course, few people remember that he also compared this sacred institution to a barren woman and a prostitute, remarks he would later regret.

Whatever the outcome, across the pond, Sunaks' announcement attracted virtually no attention or enthusiasm. Americans are too absorbed in their own presidential race, totally confused and disenchanted. The outgoing president, the oldest president in history, who turns 82 in November, seems slower to walk and talk. His challenger, who turns 77 in a few weeks, is embroiled in multiple trials and criminal trials, some barely less than scandalous, others bordering on shameful.

The author is director of education, Access Health Care Physicians LLC, Spring Hill, Florida. The opinions expressed in the article above are personal and solely those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Firstpost.

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