California dreaming

Is there strife in the Sunak household?


This article is taken from the November 2023 issue of The Critic. To get the full magazine why not subscribe? Right now we’re offering five issues for just £10.

 “Trick or Treat?” Akshata has come into the study, holding something behind her back. Rishi has been printing out spreadsheets and arranging them on the table. 

“I reject the stale consensus on Halloween,” he tells her. “The question I prefer to ask is: Treat or Trick?”

Akshata sighs. “That’s very courageous of you, darling.”

“I know. But do I get any credit from the media?”

“Well, don’t worry, next year all this will be behind us.”

“How do you mean?”

Akshata suddenly looks panicked. She puts the brochure she was holding behind her back. It says something about Malibu Real Estate, which I think is a sort of car. Rishi has decided he likes cars now.

“What if we got Jeremy Clarkson in?” he asks his friend James. “We could talk about how much we both love cars, with their big steering wheels, and their gearboxes.” 

“Mmm, we did ask, but apparently Clarkson’s a farmer now.”

“You see, Rish?” says Akshata. “Lots of successful men have sudden and unexpected career changes in mid-life. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

The King has to give a speech soon, and James and Rishi are trying to think of things for him to say. 

“Are there any more train lines you can cancel?” Akshata asks. “No one cancels things like you do.”

“We’re building train lines now,” explains Rishi. “Well, not building them. But we’re saying people could build them.”

“Except to Manchester,” says James. 

“What we need,” says Rishi, “are announcements that show how different we are. Boris just spent the whole time promising to make everything better, and we’ve got to make sure people understand that we won’t be doing any of that.”

James looks a bit thoughtful about this. Rishi tries to reassure him. 

“Isaac explained it all. Labour’s lead is soft. There’s a narrow path to victory, when voters realise that if they want things to not happen, they need to keep us in charge. Only one party is committed to delivering change by keeping everything the same.”

Akshata smiles. “Well, I’ll leave you boys to it. You certainly seem to have it all under control.” I follow her out down the stairs.

“California dreaming,” I hear her singing quietly, “on such a winter’s day.”

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