A former investment banker, trained in the best establishments of his country, who is no longer satisfied with his portfolio as Minister of Economy and Finance, betrays his mentor and launches an attack on the highest magistrate . The parallels between the rise of Rishi Sunak and that of Emmanuel Macron are striking. Revealing, too, a new generation of leaders who learned their skills in high finance between Paris and London, Singapore and San Francisco. Before thinking about politics as adding a line to a good CV.
Above a honorary course Modeled on the President of the French Republic, Rishi Sunak’s story has the appearance of ” british dream »a signed formula The Economist to be put into perspective because the social origin of the Sunak is not modest. However, the singular journey of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer representing a force in the campaign pitting him against Liz Truss, his former Foreign Affairs colleague in the government.
Favorite announced then shaken by the polls
The corridors of Westminster have long been buzzing with Sunak’s name as the heralded successor to a Boris Johnson brought to his knees by his scandals. On July 2, Rishi Sunak’s resounding resignation in a letter made public gave him the final blow. The man who has been an MP for 7 years has certainly adopted the customs of politics, which are sometimes derisive but essential to anyone who wants to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair.
It was in Southampton, a port city in the South of England, that the eldest of three siblings grew up, growing up in a family of doctors of Indian origin who arrived in Great Britain in 1960. When he was not studying at very british boarding school at Winchester College, an establishment where many British prime ministers and politicians have passed, the young man worked in the pharmacy of his pharmacist mother. He keeps an account there.
His fluency with numbers and business was confirmed at Oxford. Then at the American bank Goldman Sachs where he worked as an analyst for three years before flying to Stanford University in the United States. In the banks of the best teacher in California, the Briton followed an MBA (Master of Business Administration), an ideal diploma to open the doors of the globalized economic elite, to expand his professional … and personal network. In San Francisco, Sunak clashes with his future wife Akshata Murty, heir to a huge Indian fortune. His father founded the computer giant Infosys in which he has shares worth 430 million pounds.
Rich in his success (and his marriage)
When he returned to the banks of the Thames, he was hired by a hedge fund, there he trained and established himself. hedge funds. Rich in his success (and his marriage) at 35, the golden boy may feel that he is around the City. The time has come to take an interest in city life.
In politics, his first act of arms was not long ago. Parachuted into Yorkshire in 2015, he was elected MP for a deindustrialized constituency in the North. He became one of the youngest, and the richest, members of the House of Commons.
Like Parliament, the United Kingdom is torn apart at this precise moment around the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. the ” Maharaja of Yorkshire », a half-pompous, half-ironic title given to him by the British press, then took the cause of Brexit. A clear position, confirmed by the victorious referendum on Brexiteerswhich still became popular today when its competitor Liz Truss supported the maintenance of the EU.
Re-elected in 2017, his political career continued from cabinet to undersecretary under Theresa May. Until appointed Minister of Finance after Boris Johnson’s victory in the legislative elections of 2019. Very exposed, the position is a springboard to 10 Downing Street. His next step on a golden route?
Far from embarrassing him, as it still happened to Emmanuel Macron in France, Rishi Sunak’s experience in the City served his credibility vis-à-vis the voters. tories. The ballot, held from August 5 to September 5, should decide the identity of the next prime minister, with the Conservatives having a majority in Parliament until the next general election in spring 2024.
His journey: a force to overcome three disabilities
“Sunak’s professional background gives him great legitimacy in handling the economic files. Being an investment banker is seen as an asset in Great Britain. We qualify it on “man from Davos”. In the mouth of the British, it sounds like a compliment. As a financier, he has the image of a pragmatic, serious and balanced person. This image is reinforced by his track record of the Minister of Finance judged positive during the pandemic where compensation procedures are set up for employees and companies”, related to The gallery Sophie Loussouarn, academic specialist in the United Kingdom.
During the pandemic, Sunak stands as an advocate of the lightest restrictions possible, wanting to prevent growth. If his economic acumen is proven, will it be enough to win over Liz Truss? The two finalists in the conservative primary conflict prioritized their economic programs and especially the fiscal, burning questions of the Party’s 170,000 members. Tory called to vote.
Here, it is not a question of convincing all the people of Britain but the 170,000 members of the Conservative Party. A militant base “generally male, wealthy, elderly and living mostly in the south of the country” according to the historian of Great Britain Sophie Loussouarn who points to the delay of the forties in the Liz Truss polls. Which he doesn’t see as invincible.
“Sunak has three shortcomings: He wants to increasing tax on‘then as his rival Liz Truss s‘committed to bringing them down, he was considered a traitor after he resigned on July 5 from Boris Johnson’s government‘he accused of missing‘integrity, finally his wife Akshata Narayan Murty enjoyed‘a status of non-resident for United Kingdom tax purposes, as‘shareholder ofInfosys, I‘The Indian multinational company created by his father », said the Jules-Verne University of Amiens professor.
” Common Sense Thatcherism »
It was to Grantham, Thatcher’s birthplace, that she made her first campaign trip in July. The Iron Lady remains a revered political figure in the Conservative pantheon. However, the severity of the social cuts it imposes still partly explains the shortcomings of the NHS (national hospital system). The pandemic brought them to light. A stain on his political legacy in the eyes of some Britons.
More measured and consensual, Sunak promotes an abstruse ” common sense Thatcherism ». Understand: a pragmatic liberalism that does not destroy public services while focusing on the balance of state coffers. The fact of calling the name of Margaret Thatcher is also due to the state of the economy, similar to that of the early 1980s with inflation of more than 10% (9.4% a year at the moment and 13% expected in October of the Bank of England. ) which was able to prevent the first woman from accessing the responsibilities of the Prime Minister.
” Our number one priority is to fight inflation and not make it worse », Rishi Sunak told the BBC. Which is still slow to act against rising prices, before deciding to release tens of billions of pounds of domestic aid under the pressure of strikes. Aware, however, of the slate left in this emergency plan, Sunak is against a short-term tax cut, preferring the promise of a serious budget even though he has shown himself to be open a reduction in VAT on energy. The increase in other taxes is also excluded if he is in charge of the United Kingdom.
Inflation is low so taxes are low
His program: control inflation and lower taxes. “The former Minister of Finance wants to wait until the peak of the inflation forecast for late summer-early autumn is over to provide fiscal stimulus through tax cuts », analyzes the director of economic research at Allianz Trade Ana Boata, a British economic expert. On the contrary, Liz Truss rejects a policy that, according to her, will lead to ” eCONOMY » and offers immediate tax deductions.
The former head of British diplomacy seeks to stand out thanks to his international stature. In the title of Foreign Officethis other admirer of Margaret Thatcher, who allowed himself to copy some outfits fromIron Lady, took martial positions in Taiwan, China and the invasion of Ukraine condemned by Vladimir Putin.
Known more for economics, Sunak also tried to make his voice heard on geopolitical issues. ” China is the biggest long-term threat to the UK », proclaimed one seeking to close 30 Confucius institutes in the country suspected of pro-Chinese propaganda and espionage. An unchanging posture to harden the smooth image, smooth in the way its brush cuts. Sunak knows who built it through abundant communication in social networks.
On his Twitter profile, scroll through photos of his family, his childhood with strokes of humor or his teleworking sessions in his living room in a hoodie. Involuntarily nodded at the photos published by the Elysée of an unshaven Emmanuel Macron wearing a sports jacket during a work session on Sunday. Perhaps the two men will have a chance to meet at the table of the powerful in the coming weeks. This would mark for Sunak at only 42 the apogee of a political career as meteoric as his business success.