The Tories are finally coming to see what has long been plain to the rest of us: Rishi Sunak is a dud. He’s not a walking catastrophe like Liz Truss but he’s hopelessly out of touch, helplessly out of his depth and has no plan for turning things around. His conversation with a homeless man at a shelter, in which the Prime Minister chirpily enquired whether the bloke was a business owner, has been somewhat misrepresented by Labour and its colleagues in the activist media. Sunak did not blurt out his silly question from nowhere: the man had been questioning him about his management of the economy and the benefits to London of a booming financial sector.
Still, unless the PM suspected he was in a very tasteless episode of The Secret Millionaire, it was absurd to ask a man queuing for free Christmas scran about commerce and finance. James Forsyth, formerly of this parish, will still be finding his feet in No. 10 but he might want to have a word with whoever thought it was a good idea to have our mega-rich PM doling out grub to the poor and indigent at a homeless shelter. Of all the ways to position Sunak at Christmas, a reincarnated Mr Bumble, plating up gruel at the workhouse, was certainly a choice.
It’s unfair, of course, that Sunak’s fortune counts against him. It’s not his fault he married the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire. But if you’re going to have a Tory prime minister during a cost-of-living crisis, one who snatched back £20 a week from families on Universal Credit, I’m afraid he can’t be Scrooge McDuck, diving into his vault of gold while the poors struggle to keep their homes heated over Christmas.