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Is Rishi Sunak an even worse PM than Liz Truss?

Poll

Who is the worse PM?

This week we found out that in some polls, Rishi Sunak is even less popular than Liz Truss.

This comes as Rishi Sunak is caught in another Tory civil war over his Rwanda policy, which may or may not (I'd opt for will not) even stop people coming to the UK by small boat.

It's hard to discern any particular economic ideology or many meaningful policy changes he's implementing in other areas of government. While I feel like I could give a summary of Cameronism, Mayism, Johnsonism and Trussism, I feel like I have no idea what Sunakism is.

So is the grass just greener on the other side, or is Rishi Sunak actually even worse than Liz Truss?
Reply 1
Since taking up the role, has had felt like a placeholder until the next general election.

It is difficult to compare the two given the short reign of Truss.

And I’m starting to think he may not get as far as the next election.
Reply 2
I'd say no.

Sunak is a member of the establishment and managerial class without any strong ideology at his core (even less than Cameron) however he is largely paying the price for inheriting a party that was already not unified and beset with the usual issues that plague governments in power a long time, namely that newly elected talent sits behind those elected previously that recycle roles but have long since engaged in their actual pasion projects.

Mainly though, as bad as a lack of direction and mild corruption and tiredness is, Sunak is ultimately paying the price for the fact that we saw a political reallignment in 2016 and only 139 Tory MP's joined parliament in 2017 and 2019, hence more than 200 MP's are from prior elections and while not all are out of step with the new reallignment, nor are they really in tune. In addition, when MP's do not believe a leader can win, they tend not to obey.

While not the same situation that Brown saw i think it's worth remembering that towards the end we had the expenses scandal and there was unhapiness in the party. I tend to think it will always happen to some degree if the same establishment remains in power.

Moreover, i don't think any other leader would be any better given the circumstances.
Yes, he is.
By the start of the new year he may well be considered a worse PM than Major.
Or even Chamberlain and Baldwin.
Truss was worse, she was only PM for about a month but the economic turmoil she created still affects people today.

Sunak is just a weak leader, if it weren't for Truss setting the bar so low I think it would be easy to say that he's the worst PM we have had since the 80s. He has accomplished basically nothing and seems impossible to define himself as anything.

One minute he is the mature candidate, the next he gets his knickers in a twist over a statue. One minute he is the voice of change, the next he promotes a washed up ex-PM as foreign secretary.
Original post by londonmyst
By the start of the new year he may well be considered a worse PM than Major.


Interesting that you'd put Major that low how objectively are you putting him that low? He did, after all, win a general election majority and stay in office for 7 years!
Original post by Saracen's Fez
This week we found out that in some polls, Rishi Sunak is even less popular than Liz Truss.

This comes as Rishi Sunak is caught in another Tory civil war over his Rwanda policy, which may or may not (I'd opt for will not) even stop people coming to the UK by small boat.

It's hard to discern any particular economic ideology or many meaningful policy changes he's implementing in other areas of government. While I feel like I could give a summary of Cameronism, Mayism, Johnsonism and Trussism, I feel like I have no idea what Sunakism is.

So is the grass just greener on the other side, or is Rishi Sunak actually even worse than Liz Truss?

First things first, the poll you linked to only shows how popular Sunak is amongst voters who voted for Boris in 2019, rather than the actual wider UK electorate (although I'm certainly not arguing he's polling well generally). Therefore, it's worth baring in mind that the position of the Reform Party is currently very different to in 2019 when they didn't contest conservative seats, and the polling firm in the article even say that it's Reform that are causing the cratering in numbers. This begs the question that if Sunak moved more to the right, sure maybe he'd get more of these voters that he's recently lost, but generally shifting even further away from the centre is at odds with success in General Elections so it's a bit of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation where the main problem isn't necessarily the PM in question, voters are just generally sick of the Conservatives, even if they're not big fans of Labour.

I think you're being overly generous with how easily the ideology and views of the four PMs prior to Sunak can be defined and summarised, beyond mere political spin. If you look at it through the lens of policy implementation and outcomes, it's pretty hard to define people like May/Boris/Truss/even Cameron to an extent.

Truss spoke about growth and the supply side, then tried to force through irresponsible demand side policies that were never likely to stimulate growth. What was Boris' policy agenda? His tenure was sort of dominated by COVID which makes it tricky to define, but one could point to things like levelling up etc. And while this goal is certainly admirable, there's very little evidence he put meaningful policies in place to achieve this. With May, like with Boris and COVID, her premiership was largely distracted by Brexit deal negotiations and a failed election campaign which prevented significant changes to policymaking elsewhere.

I think it's probably clearer with Cameron and this is partly because he was the longest serving recent conservative PM by a distance. I think most would generally put him under the banner of being a classic neoliberal. There were some progressive policies under him (e.g. same-sex marriage legislation). But again, it's difficult to distinguish his actual ideology from its context which was massive austerity after the GFC and a coalition government for 5/6 years, which is likely to have prevented him from doing quite a lot of what both he and Osborne would have ideally wanted to enact.

Given the UK has generally moved from shock to shock over the past 15yrs (GFC, Brexit, pandemic, energy/cost-of-living), I think it's slightly unfair to not view Sunak under the same contextual lens - i.e. being massively constrained by inheriting a weak political and economic position. I think a fairer view would be that most recent conservative PMs (possibly excluding May who was slightly more principled) have just been populists, thus lurch from one political/economic position to another without any real underlying ideological underpinning, and thus far Sunak has been no different.
(edited 2 months ago)

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