Britain’s political fever dream continued apace this week as Rishi Sunak became prime ministerwithout anyone even voting for him. The former chancellor, the country’s third prime minister in less than two months and the fifth in six years, is also the UK’s first leader of colour and the first Hindu to take the office.
Jonathan Freedland considers how big a blow Truss’s ill-judged stint in power has delivered to the school of neoliberal economic thought.
Brazil also faces a judgment day this weekend,as Jair Bolsonaro and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva square up in a presidential runoff of deep significance for the country and the planet, with the protection of the Amazon at stake. The outcome is on such a knife-edge that not even the nation’s gangsters can decide who to vote for, as our Latin America correspondent Tom Phillips reports.
On the subject of the environment, don’t miss Naomi Klein’s long readabout how Egypt’s government has used the coming Cop27 conference to greenwash its own oppressive political activities.
Then, there’s a revealing interview with Chelsea Manning, who opens up to Emma Brockes on what really happened when she leaked thousands of classified US military documents.
We report on Rishi Sunak becoming the next UK prime minister. Plus: global efforts to reconstruct Ukraine, Malaysia prepares to go to the polls, and Booker Prize winner George Saunders on his new collection of short stories.
A country of political instability, low growth and subordination to the bond markets
In 2012 liz truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, two of the authors of a pamphlet called “Britannia Unchained”, used Italy as a warning. Bloated public services, low growth, poor productivity: the problems of Italy and other southern European countries were also present in Britain. Ten years later, in their botched attempt to forge a different path, Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng have helped make the comparison inescapable. Britain is still blighted by disappointing growth and regional inequality. But it is also hobbled by chronic political instability and under the thumb of the bond markets. Welcome to Britaly.
The new prime minister must eschew pantomime radicalism if she is to succeed. The sceptics have many reasons to be dubious—yet underestimating Liz Truss is a mistake her opponents have already made to their cost.
A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, will Donald Trump run again? Also, the future of the Visa-Mastercard payments duopoly (9:35) and, what kind of prime minister will Britain get? (21:45).
May served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2016 to 2019. Assuming office following the 2016 Brexit referendum, she was tasked with one of the most intractable challenges of any post-war Prime Minister, and successfully negotiated a withdrawal deal with the EU in late 2018. Beyond Brexit, May reversed course on the Conservative government’s controversial programme of austerity, delivering the largest single cash-boost to the NHS in its history, and championed human rights and social justice initiatives, such as ending modern slavery.
The Benazir Bhutto Memorial Lecture was established to honour the life and legacy of Benazir Bhutto, the first female leader of a majority-Muslim country, and a former President of the Oxford Union.
ABOUT THE OXFORD UNION SOCIETY: The Oxford Union is the world’s most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. Since 1823, the Union has been promoting debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe.