Not so long ago, the arrival of a new British prime minister would be a relatively uncommon affair – a bit of an earthquake. Margaret Thatcher managed to clock up 11 years before her colleagues prevailed on her not to “go on and on”. John Major survived a recession and multiple attempts at defenestration until the voters caught up with him in 1997, after more than six years in office.
Tony Blair won an election after the Iraq War and lasted a decade. But things have generally turned less stable in more recent times, culminating in Liz Truss’s tragi-comic seven weeks in post, action-packed as they were. Three premiers so far this year, an attempted comeback by Boris Johnson, and seven chancellors in the past decade. The Italianisation of British politics seems complete.
Given the state of the economy, of his party and the opinion polls, Rishi Sunak can’t look forward to a long spell in No 10 with any great confidence. When the King comes to ask him to form an administration in his name, Mr Sunak might echo the joke of some of his predecessors and warn his monarch that he might not last as long as Ms Truss: gallows humour that might endear him to Charles III.
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