Musings from the Bubble - Don Brind

Rishi Sunak is heading a government of chaps -- privately educated men. More than 60% of his team comes from fee-paying schools, and three-quarters of them are men...

Musings from the Bubble

Don Brind

Sunaks Government:  Lots of chaps and Remainer Majority.

Rishi Sunak is heading a government of chaps -- privately educated men. More than 60% of his team comes from fee-paying schools, and three-quarters of them are men.

While just 7% of the general population went to fee-paying schools, the new Prime Minister has followed the recent Tory trend of packing his top team with products of elitist education. 19 of the 31 of Sunaks cronies went to a private school.

Sunak is personally deeply committed to private education. He was head boy at Winchester, where fees are £43,000 per year – almost double the average annual income of Britons. Earlier this year, Winchester reported theyd received £100,000 donation from Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy. The Guardian  

On women, Sunak does worse than Johnson and Truss. They make up less than a quarter of those round the Cabinet table, lower than the third with Truss and fewer than Johnson and Theresa May. Things have only been getting worse since the days of Tony Blairs 36% women Cabinet ministers.

Anybody on the Left is likely to be shocked but not surprised by Sunaks elitism. Its the Right who are angered by another aspect of his Cabinet making. The Brexiteer website Brexit Facts laments ‘After six years, we still have a Remainer Cabinet – 60% voted Remain’.

The lack of trust held in Sunak by the right is palpable, regardless of voting Leave in 2016. Brexit Facts pointedly ask: Is Rishi Sunak a Brexiteer? …No-one we know in either of the major Leave campaigns ever saw anything of him in 2016.”  “Mr. Sunak was of course only an MP in 2016. Nevertheless, other MPs campaigned vigorously in what was a fiercely-contested vote. We can only say that the new Prime Minister was practically invisible and never once popped up on our radar.”Brexit Facts

So what practical difference is Sunak likely to make to relations with the EU? Brexiteers are particularly worried about the Treasury, where Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and his deputy John Glen were both strong Remainers. This puts the nations purse strings in the hands of two people whose natural inclination is pro-EU”.

But they will be delighted by an Express report that a British Bill of Rights, shelved by Liz Truss, will be revived by Sunak in a move to curb the numbers of migrants crossing the Channel. The Express

The Guardian reports that the EU are hoping for improved relations after a Sunak phone call to the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. He told her he wanted a negotiated solution” on the Northern Ireland protocol, part of the post-Brexit agreement that created a customs border in the Irish Sea.

The Irish Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has said he was very encouraged” by his conversations with Sunak and was persuaded that the new prime minister understood the need to find a way back to an agenda defined by growth and cooperation”,  Irish Times.

The Guardian quotes Mujtaba Rahman, a director of the Brussels consultancy Eurasia,  who says that Sunak picking a fight with Brussels wont go down well with the markets.  “The single most important thing he has got to do is restore the UKs reputation for economic competence” after the spectacular failure” of Trusss economic experiment, Rahman said.

He doesnt really have the freedom to get into a mad row with the EU over the protocol and even risk the possibility of a trade war next year. Markets are going to punish policy choices they believe are going to imperil the economic outlook.” It is the kind of reality check which drives the ideologue Brexiteers mad.


Don Brind is a former BBC News producer and press officer to the Labour Party.