HomeBussinessI may have to vote for Rishi Sunak after all

I may have to vote for Rishi Sunak after all

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It is scarcely a secret that he aims to smash the Tory establishment on July 4 and engineer a merger of Reform with the culture war wing of Conservative MPs, or what is left of them. If this happens, it is the wholesale pollution of British democracy by the foreign bacillus of Trumpism.

This is dangerous. How all of us respond is a defining test of political character.

We can argue over whether or not Donald Trump tried to launch a coup d’etat on January 6 2021, or tried to fix the vote in Georgia. These matters are in the courts.

But it cannot be denied that Trump has never accepted his defeat and has deployed all means to propagate the lie that the election was stolen. Nor can it be denied that 147 House Republicans voted to overturn the result and keep him in power. All evidence is that they would do the same again in even larger numbers.

Once a party behaves in this way, democracy breaks down. You are already succumbing to caudillo falangism.

Nigel Farage is not a falangist but his alliance with Trump takes him a long way in that direction. I do not want any of this imported into my country. Nor do I wish to see the Conservative Party reduced to an overseas branch of the MAGA movement.

Rishi Sunak is not my economic cup of tea. He is a captive of the Treasury view. He has misdiagnosed the underlying cause of Britain’s secular stagnation and seems reluctant to accept that muscular investments by the state are necessary to draw in private capital and lift the UK’s abject level of capital formation.

He listens to pessimists who think that clean-tech is a cost, not to optimists who think it is both a growth accelerant and a gain for national security. He seems not to grasp how perilous it would be for the British economy to lose its global footing in green industries.

I struggle to forgive him for breaking the UK’s bipartisan consensus on climate policy – diplomatic gold dust, thrown away so lightly – and for lacking the courage to confront the stick-in-the-mud wing of his own party.

Yet Mr Sunak is an intelligent man. He has handled the serial shocks of recent years reasonably well, and no worse than Macron, Scholz, Rutte, or Sanchez. On the whole, he projects the image of a tolerant, liberal and forward-looking Britain to the rest of the world.

So yes, I may have to vote for Rishi after all.

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