Liz Truss has recently resigned as prime minister of the U.K. She spent only a month in office and was a catastrophic failure. For her time in office, she will be paid a salary of over 100,000 pounds for the rest of her life. That is more than double what some people make working full-time: eight hours a day, six days a week.
This has greatly angered many British people because their tax money is being used for purposes they do not approve of. Already, the Royal Family takes millions of British tax dollars for their own personal use and now the former prime minister is taking millions more for a service to her country that was short, terrible and hated by many citizens.
Many citizens cite this as an example of how corrupt and useless the country is, calling for politicians to be removed from office and reform to be enacted. This leaves the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, with a huge mess on his hands. Sunak is also the first prime minister of color, which is a historic moment.
However, it is also likely that he will encounter racism during his tenure. This will no doubt be exemplified by the fact that the government is in disarray and the public opinion is already firmly against Parliament as he enters the office. As we have seen with Obama, problems his predecessors created will be blamed on him and some will use that as an argument against him, claiming he is inferior to his white counterparts.
Some would argue that a good first move for Sunak would be to remove the former prime minister’s salary. It would help calm the public outrage about how much money she got for how little work she did and firmly show he does not agree with anything she did and is in an opposing position to her. This could help shift public opinion in a more positive direction, showing that he is listening to them and their anger over Truss’ administration.
This would also set a precedent for future prime ministers, that they cannot receive the salary benefits of their position if they do not serve their country well and for a longer period of time. That would hopefully prevent repeat situations of a prime minister entering office, ruining everything and then leaving to not deal with the consequences.
Sunak has many challenges ahead of him. Hopefully, he has learned from his predecessors that rash actions and words will get him nowhere. Sunak also has a great deal of pressure due to the damage the Conservative Party has received from Truss’ time in office. Should Sunak fail like her, it could permanently damage the Conservative Party for the foreseeable future.
The pressure is especially high because anything he does that is even remotely out of line will be received even harsher due to closed-minded racists and an angry public. Racism is the unfortunate reality that many non-white, politicians must deal with in many western countries and Sunak has an angry populace to deal with on top of that. Should he prevail, Sunak will hopefully pave the way for more diversity in future prime ministers.
Sunak’s entry into office is at an extremely turbulent time for the U.K. and the world in general. His leadership could be what helps mend what Truss broke or he could further destroy what Truss has damaged, turning the public against the government even more.