With Rishi Sunak becoming PM, the establishment media has made a song-and-a-dance about Britain seeing its first Asian premier. But the ‘diversity’ at the top is only skin deep. Regardless of colour, this is a government of the rich.

With Rishi Sunak becoming PM, the establishment media has made a song-and-a-dance about Britain seeing its first Asian premier. But the ‘diversity’ at the top is only skin deep. Regardless of colour, this is a government of the rich.

The liberal press has heralded Rishi Sunak’s arrival in Number 10 as the UK’s ‘Obama moment’. Hailing as the first Asian and practising Hindu to hold office, we are told that this is a symbolic moment for Britain.

Sunak, of course, shares a few qualities with the former US president. He is not white. He is a multi-millionaire. And he wants the working class to pay for a crisis that the capitalists have caused. 

There is a very important difference between the two, however. Obama won on a ticket of ‘hope and change’, with millions of ordinary Americans only later discovering that they had lent their vote to a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

By contrast, workers in Britain have no such illusions in Sunak. He has come to power thanks to a Tory Party stitch-up, with no mandate from the electorate. 

From day one, everyone can see Britain’s latest PM for what he is: a champion of the establishment; yet another open enemy of the working class, who has celebrated diverting poverty funds away from poor urban communities and towards the wealthy Tory shires of Tunbridge Wells. 

Cheap trick

Make the rich paySunak’s ‘moment’ clearly reveals one thing: identity politics is a useful tool for the ruling class, helping to obscure reactionary political programmes with secondary personal identities.

For the capitalists and their political representatives, diversity at the top is a cheap, cynical trick – presenting class enemies as allies in the fight for social justice.

The Tories and their media mouthpieces, in this respect, have been keen to emphasise Sunak’s ethnic background, as he and his government prepare to launch the most brutal economic assault against British workers in decades.

Furthermore, scandalously, Tory ministers have even attempted to claim that they are, in fact, the real party of equal opportunities.

Skin deep

Pritri Patel ParliamentLiberal outlets like the Guardian and the New Statesman, meanwhile, have gone along with this hypocritical charade of identity politics – attempting to out-virtue-signal the Tories by ignoring their actual policies, and instead highlighting the white-maleness of Sunak’s new cabinet.

These shallow commentators contrast this latest Tory administration with Liz Truss’ government, which was decorated as ‘the most racially diverse cabinet ever’.

This acclaim has proven to be skin deep, however, given the Tories’ continued attacks on ethnic minorities and migrants. 

Under Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel hatched the plan for asylum seekers to be sent to Rwanda. Her successor, under both Truss and now Sunak, Suella Braverman, has since claimed that it is her ‘dream’ and ‘obsession’ to see this plan come into fruition. 

This gets to the nub of it. It is the entire Tory Party – regardless of the skin colour of government ministers – that is responsible for whipping up racism against immigrants, ethnic minorities, and refugees.

All of these rogues and reprobates have admonished the Black Lives Matter movement; supported the despicable ‘hostile environment’; and created a climate whereby we see detention centres firebombed.

The blame for racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in British society must be laid squarely at their door – and with the oppressive system they represent.

Sowing division

Concern and criticism as to which reactionary wins the game of musical chairs in Sunak’s government is entirely fatuous. But the liberals can do nothing except squabble over which Tory cabinet is more ‘inclusive’. 

Similarly, there has been a hue and cry in the mainstream media over the lack of women in Sunak’s cabinet. But when it comes to the Tories, representation means nothing – as the appointment of the new Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield, illustrates. 

Caulfield voted against legalising abortion in Northern Ireland, and previously headed a parliamentary ‘pro-life’ group. With friends like these, who needs enemies? 

We should be crystal clear: all capitalist politicians – from whatever background, ethnicity, or gender – ultimately represent the interests of a system that relies on keeping workers pitted against one another, oppressed and exploited.

Having female, Asian, or black careerists occupy these top ministerial positions is not a ‘symbolic’ sign of progress. It signals them being granted a seat at the table, to preside over the very austerity that harms working-class communities of all colours, creeds, and sexes.

Starmer’s sanctimony

Starmer PMQsThe fixation on cabinet diversity also puts ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer’s Labour Party in a bind.

Starmer has tried to sell his leadership as a break with the Corbyn era. As part of this, he has brought identity politics to the fore – especially regarding the accusations of anti-semitism.

And yet the shadow cabinet now finds itself being beaten at its own game by the Conservatives when it comes to ‘representation for representation’s sake’. 

Agreeing with Sunak’s programme of ‘fiscal responsibility’ (i.e. cuts and austerity), and wanting to prove that he too is a respectable statesman, Starmer has joined in with this sanctimonious pantomime: congratulating the Tories for selecting a South Asian man as leader; and censoring any Labour MP, such as Nadia Whittome, who dares to point out how irrelevant the new prime minister’s ethnicity is when it comes to his attacks on the working class. 

This illustrates the blind alley one is led down when you dance to the tune of identity politics. 

Topple this bankers’ government!

Socialist Appeal flag TUC 2022Despite his ethnicity, Sunak will happily suck every penny out of working-class Asian communities, as he will poor white ones. And his lackeys will continue to stir-up their so-called culture war, in order to divert attention from the class war that is underway.

We see here the insidious trap of placing personalities above politics – designed to distract and divide us.

The truth is that black, brown, or white, a Tory is still a Tory, and a capitalist is still a bloodsucker.

No matter what the ethnicity or gender of Number 10’s occupant, this is a government of the rich, for the rich, by the rich. 

As the class struggle sharpens, however, these establishment efforts to throw dust in workers’ eyes will become ever-more impotent.

The task at hand is clear: to mobilise and organise along class lines, in order to topple this bankers’ government, and the rotten system they represent.

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