Rishi Sunak’s first name is Hindi for priest. And it’s been pretty funny to hear Conservative Party MPs queue up to express admiration for Britain’s new prime minister predictions, from back in July.
At the time, Mr Sunak, a former chancellor and Goldman Sachs hedge fund manager, had offered a critique of Trussonomics.
The way the MPs now say the words, it almost sounds as if Mr Sunak were prescient. A pundit. A soothsayer. Someone very wise from the east.
Mr Sunak had common sense and courage. Common sense enough to allow him to understand that unfunded tax cuts for a small, increasingly inward-looking island nation without a viable growth plan is economic suicide. And he had the courage to speak those words to a people who didn’t want to know the truth.
Mr Sunak spent the summer trying to warn his Party that Liz Truss would trash the economy if she pursued a low-tax economic policy as UK prime minister. The MPs seem to have believed him – he was the first choice. But the Party’s mainly geriatric, white membership of roughly 160,000 didn’t. They elected, Ms Truss, seemingly on the principle that she looked more suitable to be prime minister. That must have been the criteria. It’s hard to understand what other reason there might have been.
Anyway, Ms Truss made an almighty mess. Seven weeks later, Mr Sunak has been deployed to clean it up.
It’s not clear if he, or anyone, can do so. For, the reality of what occurred in the summer should be spelt out clearly.
There was the death of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the exit of its shortest-serving prime minister and the entry into office of its first non-white prime minister, who is also the wealthiest ever and the youngest for 200 years.
And there was the end of Britain’s reputation for financial sobriety and political dullness.
No amount of prescience or priestly wisdom can fix that. Not in a hurry.