Rishi started as dishy, then he was fishy and now he’s wishy washy, says Mark Dolan
Mr Sunak, as someone that backed you, I urge you now, to throw in the towel, and to concede the leadership, in the national interest.
Rishi Sunak, the game is up. Finito, the end. Your flush is busted, your goose is cooked. The referee has counted to 10, and there’s no sign of life, on that canvas. The fat lady, hasn't just sung, she's on her way home in a cab. It's a taxi, for Mr Sunak. And it was all going so well.
This young, fresh faced MP, who entered the Commons in 2015, was the surprise replacement, for then Chancellor Sajid Javid, who had a hissy fit over Dominic Cummings, and his influence at number 11. Boris Johnson, selected this wet behind the ears young politician, presumably, in the belief, that this less experienced figure, could be told what to do. Little did anyone know, that a matter of weeks later, we would face a global pandemic, which changed everything, including Rishi Sunak's career. Being chancellor at that time, became almost as key, as being PM.
Now, you know my views on lockdown, the biggest public-health mistake in history, for which we are now paying a colossal economic, health and societal price. But if you're going to lock people down, the furlough scheme, conceived and executed in a matter of days, was a policy triumph. As was “eat out to help out”, if only we’d stuck, with a Swedish or Florida-style, approach, to the pandemic. Innovative, creative, dedicated and hard-working, this young chancellor, matured overnight. And whilst, in my view, we should never, have had these Covid measures, in the first place, his policies at the Treasury, have without doubt, saved thousands of businesses, and millions of jobs.
The moment I judged Rishi Sunak, to potentially be the future of this country, was on the 30th of January of this year, when the mail on Sunday exclusively revealed that Sunak, Lord Frost and Jacob Rees-Mogg, convinced Boris Johnson not to yield to sage scientists, and introduce restrictions over Christmas, at the end of last year.
I'm told Sunak would've resigned as chancellor, if Boris had caved in, as he did, all too often, to Messrs Whitty and Vallance. And again, after the self-inflicted political chaos of the last few months, I took the view, that Sunak, this young, teetotal, workaholic politician with family values, would be the perfect person, to help us navigate, through this post-pandemic crisis. And knowing that Sunak, has been, an instinctive lockdown sceptic, was reassuring, should there be another surge in cases, or a new variant, on his watch.
Don't forget, Mark Harper the man who battled against government covid measures, as a prominent member of the Covid recovery group of lockdown sceptic MPs, is Rishi Sunak's campaign manager, in this leadership battle.
But Sunak’s campaign, has been one of the worst in living memory. Those already unsure, about this privately educated millionaire, had their prejudices confirmed.
Too slick, too rich and too out of touch. 3 thousand quid Savile Row suits, 400 quid loafers which he wore on a Teesside building site. Interrupting his opponent Liz Truss in a TV debate, and being accused of Mansplaining, the whole campaign has been defensive, prickly and abrasive. The slogan “ready for Rishi” was far too presumptuous, and there’s a perception, that he's been planning this campaign, for months, if not years.
Well if he's BEEN planning it, he hasn't planned it, very well. Because at no point has Sunak, with all his polish and all his slogans, really laid a finger on Truss.
Truss' relaxed, natural style, her calm demeanour and authentic approach, whilst far from Churchillian, has offered a refreshing contrast, to Sunak's inescapably, corporate persona. She's no great public speaker, she’s flip-flopped on a couple of policies, and I do hope we're not about to elect, Theresa May 2.0. But I don't think so. This highly experienced Cabinet minister has delivered in every department, particularly in the foreign office, in standing up to the bully Putin, and in the trade department, with multiple trade deal in the bag within weeks, of her arrival.
Boris got Brexit done, it's just possible that Liz Truss, might get a whole lot more done. She’s willing to challenge, Treasury orthodoxies, in regards to the economy, she’s willing to tackle the woke takeover, of our institutions. And she’s serious, about the Northern Ireland protocol, Brexit and illegal migrant crossings in the Channel. Remember Margaret Thatcher’s famous line?
'If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman'
I can vouch for that, based on most women I’ve ever met. Speaking of powerful women, if Truss does win, I want a big fat important job, for my new political hero, the no nonsense, fearless free-thinker, Kemi Badenoch.
It’s a shame for Sunak. I liked him, his ideas, his commitment, his hard work, and his tough love messaging on the economy and tax cuts. It was brave. Just as he was brave, and went against his then boss David Cameron, to enthusiastically back Brexit, in 2015.
But none of this, has struck the right note with his electorate, Tory grass-roots supporters. When he talks about tackling extreme political correctness, getting the BEST out of Brexit, lowering taxes in the long run and dealing with the migrant crisis, it feels like window dressing.
It just doesn't ring true. He talks about charging for missed NHS appointments. Is that a major issue facing the British people? I’m sorry but Sunak, has missed HIS appointment, to be PM. Following the Euros victory at Wembley last weekend, girl power is back and Liz Truss has emerged as a lioness, and Rishi Sunak to whom I've lent as much support as I can, appears to be a kitten. What finally did for Sunak was that video, recorded earlier this week, in which he boasted about diverting funds, from poorer urban areas.
Probably taken out of context, it's not unreasonable for taxpayers cash, to be distributed across all communities. There are people struggling everywhere in this country, even in comfortable suburbs. But it was such a ham-fisted comment, and reflected the increasingly desperate nature, of his campaign. Which didn’t bode well for a man seeking the toughest, most high pressure job in the country.
So it's the end of the affair. Rishi Sunak's campaign, to get the keys to number 10, has been a catastrophic failure. Which is why Sunak, must now concede this leadership election to Liz Truss, straight away. I mean tonight, or first thing tomorrow morning. He must hold an immediate press conference, outside one of his big houses, and announce that he’s throwing the towel in and conceding the race to Truss.
Why concede? Well because, whilst he started the campaign, as the underdog, Liz Truss is now out of sight. And why concede NOW? As a matter of urgency? Because, we are in, a national emergency. The weather is nice at the moment and the sun may be shining, but there are dark storms brewing. The Bank of England, are predicting a year and a quarter of recession, higher interest rates and inflation at 13%. There is no time to lose.
I want Liz Truss installed as prime minister, by the end of this week. By Friday, she needs to be in that bulletproof jag, on her way to the palace, seeking permission from the other Liz - Queen Elizabeth - to form a new administration.
And given the current economic crisis, she needs to assemble, what can only be described as a cabinet of war, one I’m certain old Sunak will be part of. Rishi started as dishy, then he was fishy and now he’s wishy washy. So Mr Sunak, as someone that backed you, I urge you now, to throw in the towel, and to concede the leadership, in the national interest. In doing so, you’ll go from zero to hero, and history, will judge you kindly. We need a new prime Minister, and we need her now.