From the diary of Rishi Sunak, 2023’s only prime minister (!)
MY first full year as prime minister couldn’t have gone better. We are poised and ready for the great poll turnaround of 2024. ‘I have another perspective,’ says my wife.
‘I was talking to John Major after the Coronation – nice man, servile – about his last years. Beset by idiot cabinet members crazed with xenophobia. All around him MPs kicked out for bizarre sexual practices. Losing by-elections weekly. Defeat inevitable.’
‘And this is relevant to me how?’ I ask. ‘John Major’s government was so despised it locked the Tories out of power for 13 years. He was forever abhorred by his party afterwards. Where are the similarities?’
Akshata nods slowly, like when she’s explaining bond markets to the children. She says: ‘So if we thought experiment the great poll turnaround not happening as planned? The recession arriving? The autumn election ending in Tory wipeout?
‘The party collapsing into in-fighting? Electing a succession of wholly repellent leaders? Losing again and again to a Labour who have remembered everyone hates the lefties?’
I’m given pause for thought. And in truth I have entertained doubts, often after PMQs, that history may not be as on my side as I’ve always assumed. I look around Cabinet meetings and conclude that none of these people approach being employable.
‘But John Major is not even remembered,’ I splutter. ‘The water closed over him and his five years as prime minister as if they never happened.’
‘He told me seven years,’ says Akshata, ‘and that is a good thing. Once we are in Silicon Valley your past will be as forgotten as Nick Clegg’s. I’m lining up your interviews.’