His family finances are more important to him than the finances of families, says Fleet Street Fox
After a week of tax and residency scandal, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is, we are told, “fighting to save his career.”
Well, of course he is. We’d all need to work a bit harder to look employable, if we didn’t know what country we lived in. The real question is WHICH job, exactly, he’s fighting to keep.
Is it the £81,932 role he has representing 65,000 constituents of Richmond, North Yorkshire?
Is it his appointment as Chancellor, with the ability to set tax rates for millions of little people?
His previous profession as a hedge fund manager?
Or his position as son-in-law to a man who set up a multi-billion dollar global business?
Rishi Sunak on Twitter)
If we are to judge the likelihood of his main career as the taxman would, according to which role provides him with the biggest financial returns, it’ll be his marriage he works hardest to save. Judging from the £11.6m she got in dividends from her billionaire father’s business last year, it would provide an MP’s salary in under 3 days, a Cabinet Minister’s stipend in another 2, and would make him a millionaire-by-marriage, all over again, every 32 days.
But that’s if we assume Rishi is motivated purely by money. As he said when defending his wife’s tax status, he loves his country from him. He may merely want to make Richmond a better place to live and work. Politics might not pay well, but it can be a vocation.
Hansard records him speaking in Parliament about his own constitution just 6 times in the 3 years he was nowt but a local MP. In 2018 he was made a junior minister, and mentioned Richmond 3 times more.
He then joined the Treasury in 2019 and was made Chancellor just 7 months later, and Hansard records that he hasn’t once mentioned the place he represents since. The closer he has got to power, the less he has mentioned the people who elected him.
BBC/AFP via Getty Images)
So perhaps it’s his role as Chancellor he’s fighting for, despite the fact journalists have been briefed for the past two years he wants to be Prime Minister.
If he wanted to be seen as fiscally responsible, economically-prescient, and capable of steering HMS Britannia on the stormy seas of international financial shockwaves, he’d be demanding a review into the £4.3bn lost to Covid loan fraud, the £9bn written off on wasted PPE, and the government errors which might have lost us a further £22bn during the pandemic support schemes he set up.
Instead, he’s demanding a review into who leaked his wife’s tax status to the press, perhaps because that’s been more financially damaging to his family than any public spending cock-ups, cost of living increases, or National Insurance hikes, which have set back most other families an average of £2,000 a year.
He’s not even a very good Chancellor. Aside from the billions he’s simply lost, Britain suffered the worst recession in a century and is now experiencing the weakest post-pandemic growth of any major economy. It’s being praised as back to what it was before Covid – but before Covid, our economy was stagnant. If the Tories are crowding about those dizzy heights, they all need pills.
If a man this clever and rich really wanted to be Chancellor, he’d make more effort to be good at it.
Perhaps he’s trying hard to keep his hopes of being PM alive. But it’s hard to know how he ever thought he’d get the promotion, with personal tax affairs made of mist, and a love for his country so great he told the American government he’d rather live in Santa Monica forever.
He’d never make it to No10, in the same way he’d never fill up his own car. Both require some part of the human concerned to be in contact with reality, whereas Rishi seems to be in orbit somewhere on the other side of Saturn.
Which means the career that’s left to him is being Mr Akshata Murthy, a woman whose dividends earn her £2,000 every 10 minutes, and the ability to survive every kind of economic crisis except worldwide Communism.
It’s been reported this weekend that as the scandal grew, Rishi’s first position was to defend her at all costs, then to denounce ‘smears’, misleadingly claim they both love Britain very much, and then according to witnesses to spend half his day running up and downstairs in No11 to speak to her privately. Finally, removal vans were called, and she’s moved out of Downing Street for the highly-whiffy reason of being near to their daughter’s school for the few weeks she has left there.
Now, does all that sound like a caring husband and an accidentally-non-dom wife, or like a man whose wife is going thermonuclear upstairs and demanding to know what, exactly, is the point of her having to up with this expensive scrutiny for a job that pays him the lowest salary he’s ever had?
Politicians who say one thing and do another are ten a penny. But government ministers who do national tax deals with the US on our behalf, without declaring a conflict of interest by dint of being a US taxpayer themselves, are much rarer.
And Chancellors who raise taxes for us 15 times, while their wives keep their income out of reach of the Treasury, are about to go extinct.
Because an ethical review won’t make the story go away. And with the White House and Joe Biden now being asked whether anyone knew he was breaking rules by working for a foreign government while holding a Green Card, it’s about to be escalated into a diplomatic incident.
Throw in the fact that the Tories are facing a drubbing on multiple fronts in the local elections, and you’ll realize that a Cabinet reshuffle is on the way and he’ll have to be demoted. And a man so egotistical and tin-eared that he took his constituents for granted, let criminals steal our money, and told us that free school meals and an extra £20 a week were a bit too expensive, isn’t going to let himself be sacked for his own moral failures.
The only thing he’s done well is to marry up, and that not only earns him the most, but comes with zero public scrutiny and anonymous, international tax shelters. Do you think he’ll figure that out on his own, or will his wife need to point it out for him?