Britain: Thatcherite or "moderate" Sunak, who will succeed Johnson as prime minister?

Britain: Thatcherite or “moderate” Sunak, who will succeed Johnson as prime minister?

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After the end of the hour of Boris Johnson’s government phase has struck, the British, along with the Europeans, are also looking to see who will lead the country in the coming period. There are two conservative names in the race to succeed him after he was forced to leave the chair of responsibility due to multiple scandals, and it is related to the “moderate” Indian Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liz Truss, who is described as “Thatcherism”, in reference to the Prime Minister. Former Margaret Thatcher, and is considered the favorite to win, according to opinion polls.

Britain, along with all Europeans, is awaiting Monday the announcement of the new name that will succeed it Boris Johnson as prime minister. It seems that the shadow of the iron woman, who enjoys special esteem among the British and the conservatives in particular, casts a shadow until today on the choice of a woman or a man to lead the government in the coming period.

Although she left power 30 years ago and died about 10 years ago, Margaret Thatcher was present in the race to Downing Street, because the country is living in somewhat similar circumstances to her rise to power. In the midst of it, a woman also emerged, Secretary of State Lise Truss.

Conservatives view Truss as a political heir to the Thatcherite idea, which gave her the advantage in the race for government leadership in the kingdom. Although Thatcher was deeply divisive, she later became their icon for her victory over the unions, which helped her implement her liberal policies without major problems.

The rallies and opinion polls about the race only confirmed the big difference within the Conservative Party between Truss, 47, and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, 42, whose members will vote by mail or online.

Similar to Thatcher

In the face of the current circumstances, there are those who believe that Britain needs a Thatcher-like leader, who has the ability to fight the battle of deep transformation in the country’s economic structure. In this regard, John Curtis, a political expert at the University of Strathclyde, says the situation is “much like that which Margaret Thatcher faced in 1979: very strong inflation and social conflict” with unprecedented strikes.

This character is embodied today, in the opinion of a number of conservatives, most of whom are “Thatcherians”, Liz Terrace, who was quickly compared to the “Iron Lady”, and is the most likely to become the third woman at the head of the government in Britain.

“There is a lot of nostalgia for the way – Thatcher – changed the country: she crushed unions, lowered taxes on the rich and improved home ownership,” says Tim Pyle, a political expert at Queen Mary University of London. A symbol of a golden age.

This analogy is reinforced by the positions of the more right-wing Secretary of State in the party (a call for free trade, lower taxes, a desire to limit the right to strike), as it appeared in pictures reminiscent of the appearance of Margaret Thatcher on occasions, when she put on a fur hat, when she visited Moscow or on a tank tower in Estonia Or when you participated in a debate wearing a white shirt with a very big knot.

The Trust criticizes British political life, which was not able to produce an elite of women officials equal to men. “A woman in politics compares to Theresa May or Margaret Thatcher, because there are not as many women as men in power,” she said, at the same time praising the former prime minister, who died in 2013.

“Moderate” Rishi Sunak

It seems that the link to the legacy of Thatcher, is the only way to get the votes of the majority of Conservatives, especially since the majority of them attribute themselves to this “school”. It is also the path taken by former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss’ rival, in extracting the confidence of his party to give him the prime ministerial chair.

But his speech does not reach the level of directness, as is the case with his rival, Tras, who sparked controversy among the European press after talking about her future relationship, if she reaches the prime ministership, with French President Emmanuel Macron.

At the end of July, Rishi Sunak, described as a moderate, flew to Grantham, Margaret Thatcher’s hometown in eastern England. He also wrote in the Daily Telegraph, the Conservative newspaper, to present himself as “Thatchery” and promised to implement “radical Thatcherian reforms that would stimulate growth”. Sunak told the BBC that Thatcher “was prepared to say what people didn’t necessarily want to hear… That’s what I stick to, I don’t want to make promises that I can’t keep.”

Rishi Sunak, the grandson of Indian immigrants who could, if surprisingly, become the country’s first non-white prime minister, struggled to transform his image as a wealthy technocrat, educator and “traitor” who precipitated Boris Johnson’s downfall by resigning from the government in early July.

margin of surprise

The result of the race is due to be announced on Monday afternoon. Unless it comes as a surprise, Liz Terrass will become the fourth prime minister since the Brexit referendum, and the third woman to hold the position after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May.

“It would be a very, very big surprise if you don’t win,” said John Curtis, political analyst at the University of Strathclyde, referring to “the cumulative progress in the opinion polls” and Truss’ ability to “politically attract members of the Conservative Party and deliver a clear message to them.”

Boris Johnson is due to submit his resignation Tuesday to Elizabeth II at her summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland, in a precedent for the 96-year-old queen, who has difficulty moving and will not travel to London.

After him, she will receive the 15th new prime minister or prime minister in the Queen’s seventy-year reign, before he returns to London to deliver his first speech in front of the government headquarters in Downing Street, forms his government and faces opposition leader Keir Starmer for the first time Wednesday in Parliament.

Boualem Ghobchi/AFP

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