Earlier this year I discovered a very entertaining podcast ‘Oh God, What Now?’ It is a very aptly named pod, given the tumultuous political events of recent years. It is also a phrase that I’m guessing is often repeated by our prime minister Rishi Sunak.
The guy just cannot get a break. He inherited an absolute shitfest from his predecessor Liz Truss, who spent her 49-day reign trashing an already struggling economy.
His predecessor but one presented him with a resignation honours list that would have made Bernard Manning blush.
Johnson was then found to have lied to parliament AND to the privileges committee that was investigating him. This resulted in the liar resigning from his seat, causing an unwanted by-election.
This was followed by three further Tory resignations from the Commons – which now leaves Sunak facing four unwanted by-elections. (It should be noted, Nadine Dorries did say that she was resigning as an MP “with immediate effect” two weeks ago, but she has still yet to do so).
The PM would have been hoping that he could put the internal psychodrama behind him this week and focus on expected positive economic news. Unfortunately for him, and us, the predicted fall in inflation failed to materialise. This led to the Bank of England hiking interest rates even further on Thursday, plunging millions of people into mortgage misery.
Of his five pledges, cutting inflation is clearly not going to plan, the NHS shows no signs of recovery, and as the weather improves, so too will Traffickers opportunity to get more people into small boats.
“Oh God, What now” indeed.
Is there any light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel for the government? The Conservative MPs I have spoken to are not optimistic. Many have already announced that they are standing down at the next General Election, whilst those who are staying to fight have started to prepare for opposition.
To sustain himself in what can be an extremely lonely job, Sunak will have to be more optimistic than that. Inflation is likely to fall in the second part of the year. Something positive may happen in Ukraine. Labour may have a collective nervous breakdown, sack Starmer and reinstall Corbyn as Leader. A week, after all, is a long time in politics.
Before that of course, he will have to approve Liz Truss’ resignation honours list.
Oh God, What Now? May well be Rishi Sunak’s’ epitaph.