November 2022 \ Diaspora News \ DIASPORA NEWS
The Empire Strikes Back!

More than democracy's diversity, it is colonialism's reverse sweep. The United Kingdom's Conservative Party, once intricately intertwined with the Empire, imperialism, and British national identity, had contenders from former colonies in Asia and Africa fight to lead it after Boris Johnson stepped down. And after an abortive first try, the son of Indian-descent immigrants from British East Africa finally made it to its top, to become the country's first Asian Prime Minister.

By Vikas Datta

Rishi Sunak, UK's former Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Finance Minister, whose sudden resignation set in motion the circumstances that forced an intransigent Johnson to finally bow out earlier this year, was initially leading in the race to be his successor.

The race had a ethnically diverse list of candidates -- British Pakistani ministers Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti, Sunak's Iraqi Kurd-born successor Nadhim Zahawi, Attorney General Suella Braverman, whose family's roots are in Goa, and Nigerian-origin former minister Kemi Badenoch.

Sunak and Braverman's fellow Indian-origin Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, chose to sit it out. Javid and Chishti failed to get enough traction to even figure in the race, Zahawi bowed out after the first round, and Braverman after the second, leaving Sunak and Badenoch to contend against Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Tom Tugendhat, the backbench MP, who happens to be half-French.

Ultimately, Sunak and Truss were the final contenders and she won after the race went to Conservative members across the country. However, the Truss government soon imploded, and immigrants were behind it.

After she removed Chancellor of Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng (born to Ghanian immigrants), Home Secretary Braverman subsequently resigned with an excoriating - though half-veiled - attack on the Prime Minister. Truss chose to call it quits and while Johnson was seriously contending to run again, he refrained and Sunak, who was the earliest contender, rode it through to emerge triumphant finally.

A comparative newcomer - he only became an MP in 2015, Sunak has emphasised that the identity of a person born in the UK but with origins elsewhere matters to him. Suave, efficient, but also controversy-ridden, the former US-based investment banker, hedge fund operator, and three-time MP has become the first non-ethnic Briton to become Prime Minister.

Tags: UK