Stop calling Sunak the “grown up”.

He’s wedded to an ideology, not a tapestry of pragmatic competence.

Rishi Sunak is no pragmatist. He’s a textbook student of free market voodoo economics, and he’s itching to turn off the spending taps and get onto the “hard choices” which invariably mean middle class tax rises, upper class tax cuts, and spending cuts, none of which achieve anything other than a second stagnant decade.

Centre-left as well as centre-right newspapers have made the critical mistake of hailing Sunak as the sensible one; and as a result attacking the Prime Minister from the right. We now know why those “respectable” liberal columnists weren’t a fan of Jeremy Corbyn; they’re itching to scold Johnson for spending too recklessly, and talk about “sensible management” of the public finances.

There are a number of problems with what Johnson’s govt is doing, none of them is “spending too much”. Spending in the wrong areas and being reckless, yes, but the sheer amount of money spent, no. Arguably Johnson is the pragmatic one; because he’s a principle-less charlatan he will happily morph into a Keynesian if necessary for political survival, to the dismay of his hawkish backbenchers.

So let’s start attacking Johnson from the left, for his callous largesse, and failure to put the funding in the right places. The inadequacy of his proposals to meet this moment, and his skewed priorities. Let’s not talk about the sums being spend, let’s talk about the fact it’s often going to all the wrong places.

Almost everyone (including Labour) has taken to attacking the govt from the fiscal right, and what that does is it lays out the path to austerity and fiscal tightening for Sunak, winning the argument for them. Why on earth would we do such a stupidly self defeating thing? It’ll kill off the left’s ideas for a decade, which is of course what these people in the media often want, or at least don’t mind indirectly sanctioning.

Rishi Sunak may have a veneer of respectability that Johnson doesn’t, but he’s inexperienced, and he’s deeply deeply ideologically wedded to an economic settlement which has failed Britain for the past 40 years. Why would we look to such a source for enlightenment?



Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.

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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.