Kingdom of the Sunak

Rishi Sunak outside Number Ten, his waving arm dissected by a Covid positive lateral flow test.


In the miserable year that the Tories regained power, a humble investment banker from Southampton joined a hedge fund called Theleme, which would go on to invest in Moderna. Yes, that Moderna.

Dishy Rishi Sunak became a Conservative MP in 2015, rising up the party ranks until, as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the COVID-19 pandemic, he brought in hedge fund partner, John Sheridan, as an advisor. Goodness knows whose advice he was taking when he axed the £20-a-week increase in Universal Credit but it was our first proper indicator of his compassion for the poors.

By the time the Omicron variant was shorting out our vaccine microchips, Theleme had become Moderna’s largest shareholder. In Sunak’s second month as PM, the UK government announced a 10-year partnership with the American pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, whose only commercial product is their COVID-19 vaccine.

With all eyes on an increasingly corrupt party of bullies, bigots, narcissists and nincompoops, and with Sunak refusing to comment on any financial ties to Theleme, the company has just issued a statement, saying, basically, “Nah, bruv. He left in 2013. Him and his missus ain’t got nuffin to do with us.”

I guess we’ll just have to trust them. Nothing says transparency like having your company registered in the Cayman Islands; a haven of the sort where hundreds of billions are lost each year to tax avoidance.

The missus? Well, Akshata Murty is wealthier than the King and is alleged to have avoided up to £20m in tax due to her non-dom status; also, her father’s firm has or had – it’s hard to keep up with these ghouls – ties to Russia. So, having himself never paid a tax penalty, I guess Sunak had to eventually bow to pressure and pledge to publish his tax return.

We may have had practice these past three years, but let’s not hold our breath.

Amidst all this skulduggery, would it be insane of me to wonder if Sunak is playing the long con? What if he engineered Truss’ win over him in the leadership bid last year, knowing full well she and Kwarteng would scuttle our economy while the smart money was on it sinking?

A con begun so astutely with a bet on this particular slice of Big Pharma back when it was Small. Now, unashamedly laughing in the face of nurses all the way to the bank, do they divide and demoralise us so we clamber desperately over one another to our GPs for pills to take the pain away or at least numb the symptoms? Does Moderna have a new SSRI ready to patent? On the horizon, is there a two-tier national health system where the plebs get diagnosed by chatbots and robot dogs guard the hospitals?

Here we all are – plebs planetwide in particular – all feeling the effect of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Food’s gone up seemingly everywhere and the prospect of future famines due to fertiliser shortages is a very real and terrifying prospect. When even Americans stuck in traffic bemoan the cost of filling the tank of their soccer mom tanks, you know it was wise to brush those slave deaths under the rug and allow homophobes to host the World Cup – just so we can get their sweet, sweet natural gas shipped over.

Shell has just announced record annual profits of £32.2bn; meanwhile, we’re all rolling with the punches of this dress rehearsal for World War Three coming so soon after the global pandemic became de facto endemic. That’s why the IMF forecasts that GDP will shrink for all G7 countries in 2023.

Wait. Hang on. I was holding the graph upside down, sorry. No, it’s just us. Just Normal Island facing recession. And why? Is it those swarms of boat people? The clap shortage for nurses? The tofu-eating wokerati?

Honestly, I have no clue as to why we’re limping about with this bloody hole in our foot. It’s a total mystery.

We’re in the grip of a party led by a man paying serious cash to a PR firm who advises him that the bootlickers want a leader wearing glasses, not a seatbelt. When asked about the benefits of Brexit, Sunak’s first thought is the UK leading Europe’s fastest vaccine rollout. I just think he misunderstood the question and thought we were asking about the benefits to him.

I’ll see you at the pharmacy.

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