• Alastair Cavendish

For the Term of His Unnatural Life

There was a moment last week when I almost warmed to Rishi Sunak. He was receiving the sycophantic congratulations of various toadies on his coronation when he came to the slimiest and most reptilian of all, the appalling Matt Hancock, and stepped smartly past him, refusing to slap his loathsome back or wring his unwashed hand. Later, I was unreliably informed, Sunak arranged for Hancock to be summarily dismissed from the Conservative Party and transported to Australia, a kinder fate than he deserves, but at least some acknowledgement of his criminality.

Alas, it transpires that Hancock’s departure was voluntary, and very lucrative too. Since Africa would have none of him, the disgraced politician found another continent willing to tolerate his presence, though on the strict understanding that he stays in the jungle and eats insects. Not only this, but he is to be paid handsomely for doing so. Reflect for a minute on what this means. Hancock is notorious as the worst minister in living memory. His corruption and incompetence cost many thousands of lives. He took ghoulish delight in tearing our ancient liberties to shreds. He was forced into an ignominious resignation when he was discovered flouting the rules he had made for others. Now, he is in a position to make hundreds of thousands of pounds, in addition to a substantial salary for a job he is no longer even pretending to do, all because of his spectacular lack of ability and integrity. He is a celebrity in the sense that many people recognize his pouting phizog, but nothing about him is worth celebrating.

This week’s Prime Minister is not as obnoxious as Hancock, because literally no one is. However, when I find myself thinking better of any politician because he is not as bad as Hancock and because he appears, very sensibly, to despise him, it is time to pause for a moment. The media and the political class, desperate to distract us from what really matters, love to focus on Westminster soap opera and melodrama. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who hates whom? Who’s having an affair? Who had the unhappiest childhood? Who took cocaine at Oxford? Anything is of interest, it seems, except the proper governance of the country that is supposed to be their job.

It has long been my suspicion that Matt Hancock’s primary function is to be hated, and therefore to serve as a scapegoat for more intelligent and dangerous men. Even his departure from the Cabinet reeks of foul play, since it is inconceivable that any woman would kiss him voluntarily. Presumably the femme fatale was working for MI6. The strategy is almost too obvious. Find a corrupt fool with the personality of a yeast infection. Let him footle about for a while, awarding contracts to anyone prepared to feign friendship with him and reveling in the trappings of power. Then offer him up as a sacrifice that might persuade the public to forget the hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens murdered and the billions of pounds stolen from the exchequer.

There is no evidence that Rishi Sunak was any less guilty of the evil that has taken place over the last three years than anyone else who was in government at the time. There is plenty of evidence that, whatever the scale of his personal investment in Big Pharma and the potential for Central Bank Digital Currency (a system which is even now being used in India, with the enthusiastic participation of his father-in-law), he favours a future in which such dystopian elements loom large. The media continually, perhaps rather too persistently, refers to him as a Thatcherite, but he clearly has no interest in the freedom of the individual.

I am not interested in Sunak’s personality. There is little sign that he has one. The most telling fact he has ever revealed about himself in interviews is that he collects Coca-Cola memorabilia, and to be honest he looks just the type of man who would. Politicians are not as good or as interesting or as sane or as wise as other people. They seek power instead of freedom, a serious flaw in any character. The central problem, however, is not with any particular person, but with a system that is fundamentally evil and inhumane. While this remains in place, no serious purpose will be served by exchanging one Davos-approved snollygoster for another, or by sending Matt Hancock off to the jungle to eat mealworms.

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