Alex Phillips: We need to talk about Rishi Sunak
'Like other chancellors before him, is he set to be our next Prime Minister... would you vote for him?'
We need to talk about... Rishi Sunak.
It is the second highest office of state and wields significant influence. Scrutinising the ledger of the country and deciding who gets what has major real world impacts, both in the present and the future.
Of course, I’m talking about the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
A position considered by many to be that of Prime Minister in waiting, in times past causing significant tensions between numbers 10 and 11. So who is our current Chancellor?
What are his motivations and philosophies? And what of that meteoric rise to prominence?
It was during the 2019 leaders debates for the snap election that the majority of the population was first introduced to the toothsome Sunak.
Recently appointed to his first ministerial position as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a role that is third in the pecking order of the Exchequer, he was fast shuffled behind a podium to take the place of Boris Johnson in the national leaders’ debates, a move that conferred significant responsibility and trust on an otherwise relatively unknown.
But it was last year that the father of two was promoted to Chancellor after Dom’s ding dong with Saj, being thrown in at the deep end at the start of the pandemic and having to deliver a budget within weeks. But who is so-called Dishy Rishi?
He certainly has a strong PR game with his chic casual loungewear once again taking social media by storm, as he was spotted sporting 95 quid sliders and socks.
His Eat Out To Help Out campaign equally spurned a lot of attention through its innuendo, while much like his boss the PM, he has the power of first name recognition.
He also makes sure he brands everything Rishi, rather than put out social media posts under the title of the treasury. Approachable? Or adept and ambitious?
Rishi certainly was a precocious student as a graduate of Oxford and Fulbright scholar at Stanford, where he met his wife, Akshata, who happens to be daughter of a billionaire.
But the same Sunak, despite being one time head boy of exclusive Winchester College, was a waiter in a Southampton curry house during school holidays.
Efforts to paint him as an out of touch rich kid by his opponents have largely failed, with his popularity soaring.
But behind the famous grey hoodie and mug of Yorkshire tea, who is the man running the country’s finances and what does he believe in?
Often seen sporting the traditional red kautuka of Hinduism we can at least assume he’s a man of faith. We’re told he’s a Brexiteer and a Thatcherite, but does our big spending Chancellor really follow Maggie's grocers’ daughter frugality?
And like other chancellors before him, is he set to be our next Prime Minister, the first non white person to do so?
And would you vote for him?
Today, we need to talk about Rishi.