Rishi Rich takes top job as chancellor

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Rishi Sunak's hedge fund helped trigger the banking crisis

Boris Johnson has just installed the richest man in the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak, as Chancellor of the Exchequer in his “people’s government”. The fact that Sunak is a disgusting sycophant, only appointed because he was prepared to demonstrate absolute commitment to the realisation of Johnson’s greatness, and who would do what he was told, should not disguise this fact. Indeed, a willingness to publicly humiliate and demean oneself before Johnson is now an essential requirement of being a Tory minister.

Of course, Rishi Rich has made great efforts to show that he has the common touch. His mother’s pharmacy gets smaller every time he mentions it, and as for going to one of the top public schools, Winchester College (fees £46,000 a year), where he was head boy, well as he has put it, he was just “lucky”.

The annual summer garden party at his £1.5 million mansion, set in 12 acres of land, where uniformed staff serve guests with champagne and canapés, is yet another demonstration of his common touch. His support for further restrictions on trade unions is further testimony to this.

Inevitably, after university (Oxford and Stanford), Sunak went to work for Goldman Sachs, before going on to become a partner at a major hedge fund, The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), in 2006.

It is worth quoting what the Times newspaper had to say about this outfit. This was no ordinary hedge fund, but was, in fact, “the one that arguably did more than any other to precipitate Britain’s banking crisis”.

It was the TCI that “set in action a series of events that would eventually lead to the Royal Bank of Scotland being rescued with £45.5 billion of taxpayer money… TCI’s partners made a fortune as the state was left to pick up the pieces”. One of those partners is now Chancellor of the Exchequer and indeed is being discussed in some Conservative circles as a future prime minister.

He left TCI late in 2009 to set up Theleme Partners, a hedge fund with an initial capitalisation of between £500 and £700 million. He only became an MP in 2015.

As well as his own personal fortune, Rishi Rich’s wife, Akshata Sunak, is also extremely wealthy. She is the daughter of one of the richest men in India, N R Narayana Murthy, founder of Infosys, a giant tech company that had a market valuation of $46.52 billion and employed 229,658 people worldwide in 2019. Her share holding in this firm has been estimated at £185 million.

Murthy, it is worth noticing, is on the board of HSBC, is a trustee of the Rhodes Trust and a strong supporter of the Hindu supremacist prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.

The installation of someone as rich as Sunak as chancellor can, of course, be seen as Johnson’s way of making clear that when he said his was a “people’s government”, he really meant a “rich people’s government”. His choice of housing minister certainly bears this out. Robert Jenrick, who sadly only went to a very minor private school, seems to have been chosen to solve the country’s grim housing crisis on the basis of his ownership of four luxury homes worth more than £6 million. And, of course, in a “rich people’s government”, an essential qualification for the post of minister of transport (Grant Shapps) is ownership of one’s own aeroplane.

This is a government wholly committed to inequality, privilege, and social injustice, to looking after the interests of the rich and super rich, and, of course, to the glorification of Boris the Great.