Rishi’s election speech — the heavens made their feelings clear

Sue Nethercott
10 min readMay 23, 2024

Here is my response to Rishi Sunak’s election announcement speech yesterday, which of course I welcomed. Have I missed anything?

Photo of Rishi Sunak getting soaked during speech with cloud raining above.
Rishi Sunak getting soaked during speech with cloud raining above

In the last five years, our country has fought through the most challenging times since the Second World War.

True, the cost of living has skyrocketed and the NHS has struggled. Use of food banks and waiting lists have gone through the roof. You did nothing about greedflation and money which should have been spent on the NHS went to fraud and private companies’ profits.

As I stand here as your Prime Minister, I can’t help but reflect that my first proper introduction to you was just over four years ago.

You weren’t properly introduced in an election, you were foisted on us by a few Tory ‘elite’.

I stood behind one of the podiums upstairs in the building behind me. I told you that we faced a generation-defining moment and that we as a society would not be judged by some government action, but by the small acts of kindness that we showed one another.

In other words, you abdicated all responsibility.

You met that challenge and then some, and I have never been prouder to be British. And when I introduced the furlough scheme, I did so not because I saw a country simply in need of desperate help, albeit we were, but because I saw a country whose future hung in the balance.

I have never been less proud to be British. Not because of the people, but because of our government.

I could be bold and trust in the tens of millions of you at home that you would rise to the moment. Or I could accept the inevitable millions of job losses and pick up the pieces. In truth, it was no choice at all. I have never and will never leave the people of this country to face the darkest of days alone. And you know that because you’ve seen it.

You didn’t want to pay unemployment benefits, in other words.

As I did then, I will forever do everything in my power to provide you with the strongest possible protection I can. That is my promise to you.

You did not protect us against greedflation or against corruption. Your party laughed and partied as the nation suffered and people died.

Because for so many of us, it’s easy to forget the scale of what we’ve been through. We were hit by a pandemic that upended normal life. Who would have thought that the government would ever tell us how many times a day we could leave our homes? Then, just as we were recovering from COVID, war returned to Europe, with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sending your energy bills spiralling.

The people have not forgotten, and many are extremely angry with your party for ignoring your own rules, making sure your own ‘class’ profited. Energy bills spiralled far more than necessary and you did nothing about it.

I came to office, above all, to restore economic stability. Economic stability is the bedrock of any future success, whether that is rising wages and good jobs, investment in our public services, or the defence of the country. And because of our collective sacrifice and your hard work, we have reached two major milestones in delivering that stability, showing that when we work together, anything is possible.

While economic stability may be a good thing, if it is at the cost of austerity for the people while the rich get much richer, it is not. The state of the NHS, our roads and rivers proves that you have not invested in public services.

Our economy is now growing faster than anyone predicted, outpacing Germany, France and the United States. And this morning it was confirmed that inflation is back to normal. This means that the pressure on prices will ease, and mortgage rates will come down. This is proof that the plan and priorities I set out are working.

So, we are finally beginning to catch up? What took you so long? And it was thanks to your predecessor, your party, that mortgage rates went up.

I recognise that it has not always been easy. Some of you will only just be starting to feel the benefits, and for some it might still be hard when you look at your bank balance. But this hard-earned economic stability was only ever meant to be the beginning.

We have had 14 years of austerity while the rich have got richer and richer. By their deeds shall ye know them. If you had cared about the people you would have done things differently.

The question now is how, and who do you trust, to turn that foundation into a secure future for you, your family and our country? Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future.

Obviously, after 14 years, the Tory government are the last people we should trust.

To decide whether we want to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with no plan and no certainty.

For most of us, there has been no progress — nothing to build on. Many of us would love to go back to where we were when you Tories took power. The NHS was number one in the world, and inequality was less.

Earlier today, I spoke with His Majesty the King, to request the dissolution of Parliament. The King has granted this request, and we will have a general election on 4 July.

What took you so long?

This election will take place at a time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War. Putin’s Russia is waging a brutal war in Ukraine and will not stop there if he succeeds. That war has also made it all too clear the risk to our energy security.

Prolonging our reliance on fossil fuels is prolonging the risk to our energy security and to our environment and keeps us vulnerable to international fossil fuel prices, as I have written in several articles.

In the Middle East, the forces of Islamist extremism threaten regional and ultimately global stability. These tensions are exploited by extremists who seek to undermine our values and divide our society here at home.

Also in the Middle East, a people who were too young to vote for their leaders are dying in great numbers and seeing their land destroyed instead of their evil leaders being brought to justice. People who are protesting this are being arrested and treated as if they support Hamas, instead of only the supporters of Hamas being targeted.

China is looking to dominate the 21st century by stealing a lead in technology, and migration is being weaponised by hostile states to threaten the integrity of our borders. These uncertain times call for a clear plan and bold action to chart a course to a secure future. You must choose in this election who has that plan.

Your party, through Brexit without agreements, caused the migration problem and you have done nothing to solve it. Just ineffective and expensive gimmicks which had the result of making you, and by reflection the British people, look cruel and heartless and incompetent. You also failed to fund the resources to deal with the backlog, leading to huge costs to house asylum seekers and other immigrants alike and suffering to the people. Far from treating them as an additional resource to help build the economy, you have prevented those who already help the country, such as foreign NHS staff and agriculture workers, from continuing to do so. You have driven foreign students away from our universities, reducing the universities’ revenues and world reputations.

Who is prepared to take the bold action necessary to secure a better future for our country and our children. Now, I cannot and will not claim that we have got everything right. No government should.

You have got virtually nothing right. Speedy vaccinations is the only thing I can think of (which was NOT made possible by Brexit as Johnson lied), and I am extremely grateful to the NHS for delivering that. You have boldly enriched the rich while continuing austerity for the poor.

But I am proud of what we have achieved together. The bold actions we have taken. And I’m confident about what we can do in the future.

You should not be proud but deeply ashamed. The country should have zero confidence about your ability to make things better.

We’ve tackled inflation, controlled debt, cut workers taxes, and increased the state pension by £900. We’ve reduced taxes on investment and seized the opportunities of Brexit to make this the best country in the world to grow a business, put record amounts of funding into our NHS and ensured it is now training the doctors and nurses it needs in the decades to come.

Inflation was bound to come down here, as it did nearly everywhere else. Do not claim credit for it. While controlling debt is a good thing, refusing to invest is bad. Encouraging foreign investors to buy up our assets is bad — a sure route to becoming a third world country. Your record amounts of funding for the NHS, if they existed, went to feather the profits of your rich buddies and to fraud, not to investment in the NHS itself. We need far more NHS staff than you are training, and/or to encourage foreign ones back.

We’ve reformed education, and our children are now the best readers in the Western world. We prioritised energy security and your family finances over environmental dogma and our approach to net zero.

You have prioritised the profits of fossil fuel companies over the environment, There is only one Earth and it is going to hell in a handbasket thanks to short-sighted people like you. Nature does not care about your short term policies

We fully funded an increase in defence spending to 2.5% of GDP. We made a decision to invest more in local transport that you actually use rather than endlessly plough more money into HS2.

And who was it who began HS2 in the first place? You have left a terrible mess for travelers and property owners in its path and taxpayers alike.

We set out a comprehensive plan to reform our welfare system to make it fair for those who pay for it, as well as those who need it. Immigration is finally coming down and we are stopping the boats with our Rwanda partnership, and we will ensure that the next generation grows up smoke-free.

You have caused a lot of sick and disabled and unemployed people a lot of stress in the process. That was not well done.

I hope that my work, since I became prime minister, shows that we have a plan and are prepared to take bold action necessary for our country to flourish. Now, I’ve stuck with that plan and always been honest with you about what is needed, even when that’s been difficult, because I’m guided by doing what is right for our country, not what is easy.

Your plans have brought more austerity and increasing poverty and declining standards for many. You have blindly stuck to your plans rather than learning what was wrong with them and improving or discarding them. Boldness can be good, but it can also be stupid and dangerous and harmful. Wisdom is far preferable, and that is gained by listening and learning, not by being blindly stubborn.

I can’t say the same thing for the Labour Party because I don’t know what they offer. And in truth, I don’t think you know either. And that’s because they have no plan.

Perhaps you should listen to the Labour Party. You may find that you have more in common than you think.

There is no bold action. And as a result, the future can only be uncertain with them. On 5 July, either Keir Starmer or I will be Prime Minister. He has shown time and time again that he will take the easy way out and do anything to get power.

Uncertainty may turn out to be better than the certainty of Britain continuing to decline under the Tories.

If he was happy to abandon all the promises he made to become Labour leader once he got the job, how can you know that he won’t do exactly the same thing if he were to become Prime Minister?

The future has been very uncertain under Tories. He would have to work extremely hard to be worse.

If you don’t have the conviction to stick to anything you say, if you don’t have the courage to tell people what you want to do, and if you don’t have a plan, how can you possibly be trusted to lead our country, especially at this most uncertain of times?

If you don’t have the wisdom to see the effects of your actions but blindly carry on with them, you do not deserve to be in government ever again. People want an economy that will work for them, not just your rich pals. Your party has badly dented the pride and confidence in our country, and you clearly have no intention of changing for the better. Over the past 14 years the Tories have proven that they cannot be trusted with government.

Over the next few weeks, I will fight for every vote. I will earn your trust and I will prove to you that only a Conservative government led by me will not put our hard-earned economic stability at risk, can restore pride and confidence in our country and with a clear plan and bold action, will deliver a secure future for you, Your family and our United Kingdom.

You would serve your country by dissolving the Tory Party. Let Labour continue to move into the space you used to hold before going to extremes, and let a party rise up to take the place that Labour used to hold. The current crop of Tories has been tainted beyond all redemption.

Your words are, as ever, empty rhetoric with mistruths embedded. And if your main platform is “Labour has no plan”, then clearly your platform is empty.

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Sue Nethercott

Open University BA, UMIST MSc, OU BSc Environmental Studies. Interests: environment, COVID19. Double #ostomate. Thom Hartmann’s newsletter editor. Views my own.