It can’t be called a quiet Christmas for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Across the UK, various public services are shutting down and there has been a veritable calendar of strikes. Sunak stands for giant chores.
But where to start? That’s going to be quite complicated, because if you look at which sectors are now taking to the streets; hospital staff, train staff, customs staff, they’ve been on strike continuously for the past few weeks. Not a day goes by without a strike, and the problem for Sunak is that every sector demands a huge wage increase. Nevertheless, due to high inflation.
As an example, let’s take the healthcare sector, which wants more than 19 percent on top of the existing wage. Sunak obviously thinks that if he meets one group, he has to meet all the other groups. It’s not affordable, so he’s got his hands in his hair. And that will continue to be the case in the coming weeks.
So far, however, Sunak has kept his footing. He comes with a much lower offer in terms of wage increases than the sectors demand, and he keeps his footing. That is why I expect the strikes to continue in 2023, and that it will be his first real problem.
Although it’s a persistent problem, former UK Ambassador Simon Smits doesn’t think it could cost him his job. He’s not dependent on votes or anything. He depends on his own party for his position. And they will – after wearing out three in one year – wait a while to come up with a fourth.
While that was said about Truss, we don’t think Sunak is destined for the same fate. He was elected by his own parliamentarians (in fact – he was appointed, not elected – Ed.), and they think twice before impeaching anyone else. The next two years-until 2025, he will remain in the saddle.
It’s been quite a year, with all this political chaos. First Boris Johnson, who ended up from one scandal to another, then the 45 famous days of Liz Truss and now then Rishi Sunak. That party realizes they won’t commit again.
This can also be seen in the way Sunak positions itself: more pragmatic. It’s really an economist in that sense. The financial markets have calmed down again. Under Liz Truss It was really panic Trump, and he has managed that. That is why he is politically firm enough in the saddle.
But whether the country will continue to support him, especially with a view to the strikes. You may see that the country is going to turn into a government. That they say, if you leave our nurses out in the cold like that, something will blow. That movement is not yet visible in the polls, but it is possible.