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Opinion: Is There an Antidote for Rich Politicians? By Gethin Thurlow

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Opinion: Is There an Antidote for Rich Politicians? By Gethin Thurlow

Being ultra-rich and lacking care or understanding of people’s actual lives is common amongst many MP’s but Rishi Sunak takes this to another level.

The chancellor, responsible for economic policy during the current cost of living crisis, recently became the first ever frontline politician to be featured on the Times rich list of the Top 250 Richest People in the UK with his wife, Shakrata Murthy. Can someone with assets estimated at £200 million really grasp what it is like for the average voter? Can he have any credibility when he says things like “It’s going to be tough” in a speech to the CBI. Owning such wealth, surely Sunak will be just about okay to heat his 4 mansions. It’s safe to say that with Sunak as chancellor and a disproportionate number of the cabinet descending from wealthy backgrounds (36% of cabinet members went to private schools, compared with 7% of the general public), those who are making the decisions about our lives will have to do plenty of research when wanting to get any sort of understanding of what `tough times’ equate to.

There seems to be a distinct whiff of the attitude `I’m better than you and I know what’s best for you’ coming from many elitist members of the government. In the spare time Rishi finds between refusing to create policy in response to the Cost of Living crisis and holidays in his Californian home, you’ll find him spending thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money on focus groups and polling, allegedly to improve his personal image. Perhaps this is a wild suggestion, but maybe Sunak could invest more of his time, effort and resources in trying to open up more opportunities to those who are currently weighed down by the cost of living crisis?

It isn’t all bad though, because there are some MPs who do restore our faith in democracy by making young people feel as though they have a voice in politics and by understanding and stick up for working class people. The most shining example of that for me is Zarah Sultana, who provided hope in a time after the 2019 election when people struggled to find any. In her opening speech to Parliament she spoke of forty years of living under Thatcherism (pointing out how this had continued under Blair and New Labour), about austerity and her support for a Green New deal. Sultana is a working class woman who is in touch with young people and the general public, and who happens to be a politician, unlike Sunak and other members of the political elite.

Sultana has TikTok , she’s a passionate fan of Liverpool and actually sits in the stands like the rest of us. She’s not afraid to speak out by challenging the Government, giving young people a voice when we don’t have one in the form of a vote. She uses alternate media outlets not owned by Rupert Murdoch like Double Down News and Novara Media. As a Left-wing, Muslim woman she knows the impact of prejudice but doesn’t let that stop her fighting for what’s best for the majority of the people. Sultana is a true champion of our generation. In a time when politics is most unpredictable it was no surprise she won Young People’s MP of the Year in 2021.

 It is evident that there many are MPs like Rishi Sunak, protecting and advancing their own wealth and that of their friends while giving little thought to the millions around the country suffering from his policy. Then there are some, few and far between that make politics worthwhile, that give us faith in democracy. As Liverpool fans would say – after the storm that is this Tory government, politicians like Zarah Sultana could be our golden sky.


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