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Dear Mr Churchill…

Rishi Sunak may or may not be the best fit for the UK PM’s job, but karma sure has a real dark sense of humour
Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak
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Upala Sen   |   Published 07.08.22, 02:57 AM

Exactly a hundred years ago, Winston Churchill was in his 40s as is Rishi Sunak now. Churchill was having trouble with his appendix around then, had just quit the Liberal Party and for the first time in his life was not a member of the British Parliament. Sunak, who many believed was a congenital Johnson loyalist, has just come into his own sans surgical procedure.

How About That

In 1925, Churchill rejoined the Conservative Party, which had Stanley Baldwin at the helm — he had started out Conservative, joined the Liberal Party, and then contested an election or two as an Independent. Baldwin made him Chancellor of the Exchequer and Churchill moved into 11 Downing Street. It is unlikely that he would have imagined a person of Indian origin residing at the same address, ever, and even making a little rangoli pattern at the doorstep and lighting some diyas on Diwali day. In the 1930s, Sunak’s grandparents, who eventually moved to East Africa, were still living in Punjab. The railways were only 100 years old; in February 1925, India got its first electric passenger train. One of Sunak’s grandfathers was, reportedly, a railway engineer. Would Churchill have thought that one of his would have Oxford and Stanford on his resume? Sunak, incidentally, has a strong take on refugees. He has said, "Every year thousands and thousands of people come into the UK illegally... These are not bad people, but it makes a mockery of our system and it must stop."

Yaad Aa Raha Hai

Churchill fell out with Baldwin over the latter’s India policy. Baldwin was all for granting Dominion Status to India, and Churchill was vehemently opposed to the idea. In one of his speeches from the early 1930s, he argued, “[If the British withdrew] India will fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into the barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages.” In the same speech he said, “To let the Indian people fall, as they would, to the level of China, would be a desertion of duty on the part of Great Britain.” Sunak just won a television debate with Liz Truss, wherein he fielded audience questions about inflation, healthcare and whatnot. In another debate, he underscored that China was the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century. Churchill was Prime Minister twice. Sunak, experts say, has a very slim chance of becoming Prime Minister. But Conservative donor Rami Ranger has raised a point — if Britain doesn’t vote for Sunak it might be considered racist.



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