Rishi Sunak is an honourable man
“Here, under leave of Sunak and the rest, for Sunak is an honourable man; so are they all, all honourable men - come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.”
But just as Mark Antony’s speech decimated Brutus’ claims to be ‘honourable’, so too does Rishi Sunak’s track record in government undermine his new-found morals.
Sunak played along as the happy lieutenant to the jester-king, unleashing a merry band of privileged, obscenely wealthy private schoolboys who, to no one’s surprise whatsoever, treated the institutions of the United Kingdom like a gentleman’s drinking club, all while bodies piled in the morgues and funerals were held via streaming services.
For the Old Etonian Caesar, the highest office in the land was his birth right, and the Tory party, as well as the electorate, agreed. How then, do Conservatives MPs and voters have the gall to act shocked it’s all come to this – it’s not like they weren’t warned.
Even as the first scandals surfaced, Sunak remained firm. He backed Johnson despite spiralling Covid deaths. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he engineered cuts to benefits, plunging more people into poverty at a time the wealthy were amassing ever-greater fortunes. He stood by the government when it was revealed multi-million-pound PPE contracts were handed out to friends and supporters of the Conservative Party. He stood by the PM when it became apparent Brexit was an economic failure. He didn't publicly oppose government plans to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda. And not only did he not resign over the Downing Street parties scandal, he was implicated himself.
“But Sunak is an honourable man…”
Now, however, Sunak has decided he must resign, aghast that Johnson knew of the allegations against Chris Pincher, and that he elevated him to deputy chief whip anyway. The allegations against Pincher were something of an open secret in Westminster – every newsroom in London was working on the story, before being pipped by The Sun’s new reporter Noa Hoffman.
It seems rather unlikely, bordering on unfeasible, that Sunak was not aware of the allegations himself. So what triggered this sudden change of heart? To stab Caesar in the back?
Either Sunak does genuinely draw the line at enabling an alleged sexual abuser - but is fine with deporting people to Africa, cutting benefits, giving bungs to Conservative donors and partying while people died in Covid wards – or, as has been rumoured for a while now, Sunak harbours leadership ambitions.
The question for Sunak supporters, Tory party members and the electorate themselves if it comes to a general election, is this – would a Sunak leadership look any different?
He is already obscenely wealthy, thanks to his wife’s inherited fortune, and has already shown a disregard for the UK’s institutions – his wife avoided tax in this country, by claiming non-domicile status, while he pushed taxes higher for working people.
The evil that men do lives after them, so let it be with Sunak.