“Rishi Sunak’s most important achievement in his first year as prime minister? That of not being Liz Truss.” The merciless judgment, which marks the anniversary, is from the newspaper The I, and it is perhaps worth remembering that the penultimate British government, the one led for 49 days by Elizabeth Truss, was the shortest in the history of the United Kingdom. Less than a head of lettuce, the tabloids joked 12 months ago.
A survey rejects him
But The I is not the only one to have a very harsh opinion on the current occupant of Downing Street. Even the pro-government The Times does not go lightly when it announces that, according to a survey, one in two voters rates the prime minister’s performance between “mediocre” and “terrible”.
Labor victories in by-elections
Meanwhile, a cheerful Kier Starmer, head of a Labor Party ahead in the polls by about twenty points, pompously welcomed, at the first Question Time after the annual party conferences, the new MPs who emerged victorious from last Thursday’s by-elections. Emphasizing, smugly, that one of the two constituencies had never been anything other than conservative in the past.
Sunak’s five promises
At the beginning of the year Sunak had made five promises which concerned the halving of inflation, the halt to illegal crossings of the Channel, the reduction of waiting lists in the national health system, the growth of the economy and the reduction of public debt. The results, however, are not yet seen. Inflation has reduced, but remains stubbornly high (6.7%) and is unlikely to reach the promised 5.3%. The waiting lists for those who need to be visited have increased: from 7.2 million patients to 7.7. The government places the blame on the strikes of doctors and nurses, underlining that before the protests began the delays were shortening. There is growth, but extremely modest (half a percentage point) and public debt is increasing. Landings have decreased by 25% (mainly thanks to a close agreement with Albania), but arrivals still remain in the order of tens of thousands. The plan to transfer asylum seekers who entered the country illegally to Rwanda is very controversial. All the planes have so far remained grounded, blocked by British courts of justice.
Decisionism in foreign policy
As per tradition, Sunak shows firmness in foreign policy, with the United Kingdom firmly at the side of Ukraine and Israel. With respect to this latest conflict, the prime minister is not in favor of a ceasefire, arguing that the Jewish state has the right to defend itself from terrorist attacks by Hamas. At the same time, the government has decided to allocate another 20 million pounds for the Palestinians in humanitarian aid. The first cargo left in the last few hours.