Rishi Sunak Becomes First Asian Prime Minister of the UK
Over the last four months, the United Kingdom’s political scene has been in turmoil. Two prime ministers, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, have resigned and for the second time in less than three months, a new prime minister will assume office.
In what is a historic moment, Rishi Sunak became the first person of color to hold the highest political office in the UK. Sunak will also become the first active Hindu to serve as Prime Minister.
Sunak officially assumed office on Tuesday, October 25th, after being previously overlooked in favor of Liz Truss, despite being seemingly more qualified for the role.
Sunak is a British citizen of Indian descent, born in Southampton in 1980 to parents who had migrated from Kenya. Sunak’s father was a doctor while his mother ran a pharmacy.
The firstborn child in his family, Sunak attended some of the finest schools in the United Kingdom. According to The Guardian, one of the schools Sunak attended was Winchester College, an exclusive private school that is said to charge approximately $48,000 per year.
More Insight on Rishi Sunak’s Appointment…
The ambitious young Sunak studied politics, philosophy, and economics at the Lincoln College of the University of Oxford. He obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Stanford University before working in the financial industry for Goldman Sachs and hedge funds.
After he left the finance industry, he entered the field of politics. Starting off as a member of parliament, he became the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020.
While Sunak’s ascent is an unprecedented achievement, he has already received criticism. “I think it’s great that we have a person of color as the prime minister for the first time,” said Shivani Dasani, a 22-year-old who lives in London. “He’s a rich, upper-class man, so he can’t speak for the entire community in that way.”
The combined wealth between himself and his wife, Akshata Murty, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy, is estimated at $800 million. Such wealth creates a huge divide between Sunak, a member of the British elite, and the average UK citizen.
The large wealth gap makes it difficult for people to determine if Sunak will appreciate the conditions in which the majority of his fellow citizens live.
Sunak supported Brexit, a regressive political move that negatively affected the UK in several areas. He also supports policies that negatively affect the poor, something that was proved when he said he intentionally redirected funds from poor urban areas to richer residential areas that “deserved it.”
Sunak supported the idea of moving asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, an action that was prevented by the European Court of Human Rights in June.
Many people consider the conservative party to be a racist, xenophobic and anti-poor political party, and to see him as the leader of the party speaks volumes to them.
“Rishi Sunak is now leader of the most rightwing/anti-woke/culture war-mongering UK political party (Conservatives) & Prime Minister of deeply systemic racist UK. He’s not the change for a polarized society nor does he serve the many.
He’s the status quo. Politics affects lives, it matters,” wrote British lawyer, author, and activist Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. While he might be the first person of color to serve as Prime Minister, it is not seen as a progressive victory for minorities and the average person on the ground.