Indian British Prime Minister

Rishi Sunak Becomes First Indian Origin British Prime Minister

In a historic development, Britain got its first Asian-origin Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to lead the nation. Sunak also becomes the first Indian-origin British Premier.

Liz Truss, who stepped down as the PM of the United Kingdom on October 20, congratulated Sunak on being appointed as Leader of the Conservative Party and the UK’s next Prime Minister.

“Congratulations @RishiSunak on being appointed as Leader of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister. You have my full support,” tweeted Truss.

Here is a quick guide to the UK’s next PM Sunak.

The former chancellor of the exchequer made a high-stakes gamble. He launched an attack that helped to end Boris Johnson’s premiership, put himself forward as his replacement, but ultimately lost to Liz Truss. Admitting defeat, he retreated to the parliamentary back benches.

He lost to Liz Truss in September, but she resigned six weeks later. In the latest leadership contest, Sunak racked up the support of his fellow MPs early, and fast.

He crossed the 100 nominations he needed long before the deadline – including from MPs that had previously backed Truss or Boris Johnson.

He will become the first Indian-origin person to lead the UK – and at the age of 42, he is also the youngest person to take the office in more than 200 years.

Sunak first publicly declared on Sunday morning that he would be standing in the contest. In a tweet, he wrote, “The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis. That’s why I am standing to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country.”

Sunak, whose parents came to the UK from East Africa in the 1960s, is of Indian descent. His father was a local doctor while his mother ran a pharmacy in southern England, something Sunak says gave him his desire to serve the public.

He will also be the first Hindu to become British prime minister, securing the position on Diwali, the festival of lights that marks one of the most important days of the Hindu calendar. Sunak himself made history in 2020 when he lit Diwali candles outside 11 Downing Street, the official residence of the UK chancellor.

He has faced challenges over his elite background, having studied at the exclusive Winchester College, Oxford and Stanford universities. He is known for his expensive taste in fashion and has worked for banks and hedge funds, including Goldman Sachs.

Sunak’s election on Monday marks the pinnacle of what has been a speedy rise to power. He was first elected as an MP in 2015 and spent two years on the back benches before becoming a junior minister in Theresa May’s government. Johnson gave Sunak his first major government role, appointing him as chief secretary to the Treasury in 2019 and promoting him to the chancellor in 2020.

He was the first person who ‘predicted’ financial problems under Truss. He clashed with the former PM during the previous leadership race, claiming her plan to borrow money during an inflation crisis was a “fairytale” that would plunge the economy into chaos.

Sunak was first elected as an MP in 2015 – for Richmond in north Yorkshire – but rose quickly, and was made finance minister – or chancellor – in February 2020 under Boris Johnson.

Sunak was in charge of Covid support cash, the financial aid during lockdowns – including furlough payments and the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme for restaurants.

His wife is Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy.

He faced controversy over his wife’s tax arrangements.

Over the summer, it emerged that Akshata Murthy paid no UK tax on big earnings abroad – which is legal. Sunak defended his wife saying, “to smear my wife to get at me is awful” – but eventually she agreed to start paying extra taxes. It was also found he temporarily had a US green card, allowing him to live permanently in America while he was the UK’s chancellor.

He campaigned for Brexit and deregulation. “Free ports” are one of his long-time favourite ideas: areas near ports or airports where goods can be imported and exported without paying taxes, to encourage trade.

In 2016, he told a group of schoolchildren that he originally wanted to be a Jedi Knight when he grew up. His favourite Star Wars film is The Empire Strikes Back.

However, Sunak faces an enormous task. The UK is in the midst of a deep cost-of-living crisis and soaring inequality. Financial markets are still spooked after Truss’ disastrous economic policy missteps.

The Conservative party, already unpopular after 12 years in power, has plunged itself into a state of utter chaos over the past four months and is now well behind the opposition Labour party in opinion polls. The only comfort for Sunak is that he doesn’t have to call an election until January 2025. (ANI)

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Biden says US Work With UK Govt

Biden: US Will Continue To Work With UK Govt

Shortly after British Prime Minister Lizz Truss resigned from office, US President Joe Biden on Thursday said he will continue close cooperation with the UK government to meet the global challenges that the two nations face.

“I thank Prime Minister Liz Truss for her partnership on a range of issues including holding Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine. We will continue our close cooperation with the U.K. government as we work together to meet the global challenges our nations face,” Biden tweeted.
On Thursday, Liz Truss’ resignation as UK Prime Minister threw the country into political turmoil and left it scrambling for a stable government, as the opposition reiterated its demand for a general election.

Truss became the shortest-serving British PM after she stepped down, stating that she recognises she “cannot deliver the mandate” on which she was elected. Truss said she would step aside for a new leader to be chosen within the next week. “

“I recognize though, given the situation, I cannot deliver the mandate on which I was elected by the Conservative Party. I have therefore spoken to His Majesty the King to notify him that I am resigning as leader of the Conservative Party,” she added.

Following Truss’ resignation, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer issued a scathing statement that ripped into the Conservative Party and called for a general election.

“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos. We need a general election now,” he said and added that “Each one of these crises was made in Downing Street but paid for by the British public. Each one has left our country weaker and worse off.”

Truss stepping down was preceded by the sacking of UK Finance Minister Kwasi Kwarteng and the resignation of Home Secretary Suella Braverman tendered her resignation.

Liz only remained in power for 45 days after succeeding Boris Johnson last month. (ANI)

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British Monarchy

The Queen Is Dead Long Live The King; And Tharoor’s Grumbling

There are many props that keep the British Monarchy going, alive, and kicking. The Queen of Great Britain and Colonies and Commonwealth (including India) and Anglo-Saxon countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand passed away after first meeting Boris Johnson, then Lizz Truss, one after the other. Maybe it was just a coincidence. One was thrashing every custom in England, and the new one has started thrashing Britain without Russia having to invade.

Nevertheless, the Ex Queen’s son, Charles has taken over as King and become King Charles III. He will probably dream of steering the ship back on course. Although British Monarchs are sovereigns only in name. They sign documents and cut ribbons, wear tiaras, put on fancy clothes, and go around waving in costume dramas for the masses. Power actually exists in Downing Street and in theory, in Parliament.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II successfully managed to gracefully lose or give away (depending on interpretation of history) almost the entire Empire inherited by her. This greatly reduced her workload of ‘babysitting’ little Maharajahs and Chiefs around the world. After that she only had to do a few ceremonies in her palace handing out knighthoods to people who did some good work and some to those who handed some money to her politicians for things like wallpapers or campaign funds. Rise Sir Money a Lot or Rise Sir Loyal Civil Servant or Sir ‘Mars seen through looking glass scientists’. All good people for the realm.

Some bits of the Empire that once spawned half the world and where the Sun never set, are still left in the net. These colonies feel a bit suffocated and want to leave as they feel all those ceremonial days dressing up, going to the airport getting the British Monarch and staging  a ‘rumba rumba’ dance is getting tedious. There are more important things to do in life such as responding to Twitter, Tiktok and such things. So they want to cut the knot.

Even the Anglo Saxons in Anglo Saxon countries like Australia and Canada are feeling they have psychologically grown up and don’t need a ceremonial Daddy to look after them. So there are rumblings of becoming republics. Moreover they are becoming a minority in the occupied lands anyway.

Which means King Charles III will have quite a bit of signing to do and hand out royal charters certifying ‘This country has now grown up and can freely determine its own course in life’. That will leave Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar, Falklands and the little treasure Islands where all the world’s invisible money is stashed away, still part of the Empire or King’s apparent rule.

Will he pack up the Monarchy after that? Will the English get bored with monarchy? These are questions perpetually cropping up in late night talk-shows. For the rest of the world, British Monarchy is becoming a theatrical oddity or an irrelevancy, a ruler without power. Even many British people are less interested in the pomp etc as their own lives get difficult with the crashing economy and rising energy prices and a Monarchy that won’t raise a finger to help them. Its not like old days when Monarchs looked after the subjects.

On the horizon however are other prospective monarchies. Will Xi eventually crown himself as the Emperor (Huang di) of the Xi Dynasty in China? What about Modiji, Rao Sahib of Maha Kutch?

Congress And The Coconut Tree

Talking of dynasties, it seems the Nehru dynasty is finally on its way out. The minions or in polite circles called Congress Netas, have finally rebelled and are calling for a Gandhi-Mukt Congress. Although they had no part in the dynasty’s fall. One of the meek who has found courage is Shashi Tharoor. He has made an industry in blaming the British, for everything that India has not been able to do right.

Luckily Tharoor hasn’t come across any Sikhs or other critical thinkers in his verbose delirious lectures given at Oxbridge or to Indian Press. His big claim is that India had 25% world GDP before British entered and was a beggar country when they left. A sharp wit in the audience would have asked, ‘If you were that clever to have amassed 25% world GDP, why were you so stupid not to have protected it?’ Doh. But there is a select audience.

Shashi hasn’t quite grasped that without the British there would be no ‘my India’ as he calls it. The party he wants to become president of would not be in existence without the British. After all they set it up, made its constitution and brought in the first Brown Sahibs. They encouraged them to attack them (the British) in lectures etc and campaigns. They taught them to ask for freedom and groomed them to take over a structure constructed by them (British) to be able to trade with them and bring some trained personnel to run the British economy, hospitals, buses etc.

Shashi went on to become Under Secretary at UN. His expertise in human rights was really a championing of British, French and American value systems. The only authentic Indianness he and other Congress Netas bring in is kurta-pyjama outfit.

After the BJP overturned and crushed the European secularism fetish in Indian politics, Congress leaders like Rahul did Mandir yatras to be seen as Hindu and Shashi wrote a book ‘Why he is proud to be a Hindu’. Even after reading the book, one does not get a contextual understanding what he means by a Hindu. Without the British he wouldn’t be a Hindu as it were they who finally consolidated the identity in legal terminology without bothering to define it.

Shashi is still fighting the independence campaign as his party was programmed to do by Allen Octavian Hume, the retired British civil servant who set up the Congress Party in 1885 along with some other British colleagues from the establishment and after seeking the approval of the Viceroy! Indians were being taught democracy, parliamentary system and to behave like gentlemen Brown Sahibs and under the Viceroy’s watchful eye, educated on how to ask for ‘freedom’.

Shashi has put his head forward with a grovelling statement that Gandhis are in the DNA of Congress. Of course they are. Old man Nehru was the foremost of Indian coconuts who even wrote a book about his adopted country, ‘Discovery of India’. Invaders, explorers and tourists ‘discover’ a country. Does a native person discover his own country? The title of the book said it all about the Nehru dynasty and Congress, a party and entity alien in its own land.

Always feasting on crumbs and then grumbling like a moaning teenager, Shashi has inherited an India stitched together by the British, a party set up by the British, a religion legalised by the British, a democracy inherited from the British, an intellectual framework learnt from the British and now he wants to take over the Presidency of Congress, made available by courtesy of Modi’s BJP.

It was Modi who squeezed the Gandhis out of Congress like the gel from a toothpaste tube. Shashi wants to climb in and refill it with the same sticky paste. But as everyone knows, one cannot really refill a toothpaste tube. Modi has emptied it of any meaningful use in an India looking for originality and move on from colonialism.

It would be better if the British Foreign Office does the decent thing and bring the rump of the coconut tree (Congress Party) and its final coterie of Brown Sahibs in a single British Airways flight home to London and let then wander in Hyde Park corner moaning and groaning about the Raj. Congress Mukt Bharat, put Congress in the British Library or Museum.

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Weekly Update: Punjab, Lotharios & Politicians; Global Britain Single Focus

Punjab’s politics seems to be like the last days of the Sikh Raj in 1840s. But more than that, it seems Pollywood has taken over politics and made it into an entertainment, splashing a different twist every day on the media. Some of the politicians appear to be political Lotharios looking for Sugar Daddys, bed hopping political parties like the changing mix of papri chaat. Some politicians are even threatening to form new types of Political Papri Chaat.

It all started with the Badals, the most promiscuous of ideological bed-hoppers. Senior Badal raised issues of Sikhs, then went against them, detaining hundreds if not thousands. He then became Indian nationalist and made the party ‘secular’. He then tied nuptials with the BJP, gathering substantive Punjabi Hindu vote. He then decided to make this historic party into a family enterprise, casting away other powerful and serious Akali leaders and promoting his son for the succession.

Instead of demanding resolution of Sikh issues such as release of long held political prisoners etc, he demanded a berth for his family at the BJP Cabinet. He then divorced the BJP as it became a liability. The father-son duo realised BJP was toxic after farmers rose against farm laws. Badals are now desperately seeking a link up with any party, such as Bahujan Samaj etc. The Akali Dal is now an unrecognisable party. What does it stand for? What is its political ideology except to protect the Badal family? They have their own TV channel to boast of ‘what they will do’ that they were not able to do in the long reign of Badals before.

It seems Punjabis have decided politicians are always acting. So why not put in professional actors. There is Navjot Sidhu, Deep Sidhu and now Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu (Moosewala). It seems the Sidhu clan have taken over entertainment from traditional marasis. All these three have provided endless entertainment off stage and on stage, in politics and in entertainment media.

Moosewalla played to the Khalistani sentiments, exploiting Bhindranwale and secessionist desires in his songs. He has now joined Congress, the party that in power attacked Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) and killed thousands of Sikhs. In Punjab politics, such hoola hoops raise no eyebrows.

In fact, Navjot Sidhu himself has been like a ‘Bhambiri’ (spinning top) on a string. It seems whereever the pull of political gravity is heavy, he falls onto that side with a hundred explanations on why he did that to save the Punjab (from itself). After retiring from serious cricket, he became a clownish entertainer. He joined the BJP, then the Congress. The two parties that have no common political ideology. Only in Punjab can one be a secularist and Hindutva-wadi within a period of 24 hours and still have integrity. Punjabis have no concept of political ideology any more. Politics is entertainment. Sidhu apparently even considered joining Akalis at one time as well but senior Badal had already decided on the succession.

Deep Sidhu of the Khalistani flag at Lal Qila fame is another entertainer. Delivering speeches best suited to an emotional Sikh nationalist drama documentary, Deep decided to be the bull in a China shop during the very well organised peaceful march in Delhi by farmers protesting against farm laws. The world was awestruck at the size of the march and more importantly that it was peaceful. Most of the protestors were and are Sikhs. The Image of Sikhs as peaceful marchers was going down in the annals of history. World opinion had started swinging in favour of the farmers. The BJP government was worried.

Deep Sidhu did the spoiler as many suspect. He fired a group of youth. A breakaway section who put the Sikh religious flag, Nishan Sahib, on a historic seat of power turned museum building called Lal Qila. Violence happened and turned the media hostile. Hundreds of thousands of peaceful farmers had to struggle peacefully for another eight months to get repeal of the farm laws.

Why Lal Qila? It was the throne of the Mughals. Sikh General Baghel Singh had successfully taken over the Mughal seat of power in 1783 for a short time and installed the Sikh flag there. Now Lal Qila is a museum. Anyone can hire it for a day and put any flag there, family flag, corporate flag, Tik Tok flag, even a Sikh flag during the day of hire. It doesn’t need a mock siege. Just hire the building from the Dalmias.

The Govt of India hires it for Republic Day etc and puts its flags all over. Why Indian media made the Deep Sidhu episode into ‘attack on Indian sovereignty’ is another of those hilarious Indian politics cum entertainment dramas. It would have been an episode worthy of Baghel Singh’s courage had Deep Sidhu himself gone and put the Sikh flag on Rashtarpati Bhavan (Presidential Palace). That is where the seat of power in India is now. But Sikh courage now lives bravely on the celluloid and Tik Tok reality, so a flag at Lal Qila can be turned into the most heroic episode for a Sikh generation groomed on virtual reality. Consequently, Deep Sidhu is in the running now for some sort of leadership but looking for a home.

There is of course Amarinder Singh. Captain Sahib, Maharajah Sahib, Leader Sahib who knows. He hails from the great Maharajah family of Patiala who gave their formidable army over to India in return for being Maharajah forever only to find that Indira Gandhi asset-stripped him and made him a commoner after buying him out with some peanuts. So much for political acumen in the family. Captain-Maharajah-Neta Amarinder Singh found that politics can be entertaining. He was first elected under Congress in 1980, then resigned after Operation Bluestar, then joined Akalis and then sensing he was to remain second in any succession, joined Congress again and became the CM. He has now left Congress and threatening to form a new party. Rumours are that he is now in bed with BJP.

And there can be so much written about Bhagwant Maan of AAP. It could take pages.

Is there an ideological gap between Akalis, Congress, AAP and BJP? Not in Punjab which is ideologically rudderless. Party hopping is so common, no one in Punjab probably knows what any of the parties stand for. They all promise swarg (heaven).

There is now a melee of politician-entertainers in Punjab. In fact the whole Punjab politics has become one great entertainment industry. It is difficult to know who is a political Lothario and who is a serious politician. Perhaps, Punjab is showing, politics does not matter. It is all razzmatazz after all. Today here and tomorrow there. Secular one day, Khalistani another day and then Hindutva-wadi the third day. It’s just actors mugging up for a part.

Global Britain’s Focussed Foreign Policy

It used to be Pakistan that was famously mocked for a single focus foreign policy. It was Kashmir, Kashmir and Kashmir. Pakistan Foreign Policy has become more diverse now with Afghanistan and China among other interests. Where Pakistan left, it is Global Britain that is filling the vacuum of one focussed Foreign Policy. Its obsession is France.

It seems the bumble bee Prime Minister of Global Britain, Boris Johnson gets up every morning and dreams up ideas on how to ‘piss off the French’. Brexit Britain hasn’t quite turned into Rule Britannia as he had promised. So why not rally the nationalists against the oldest enemy on tap, France.

There is more coverage of spats with France in British media than any serious Foreign Policy. To get the French colourful language retched up a bit, Boris proposed in full social media glare that he send troops to France to ‘jointly’ guard against all those illegal boat people crossing over into Global Britain. This would be akin to India offering to send troops into Pakistan to stop insurgency crossing over into Jammu Kashmir.

Of course, Macron (France) had a few ‘curses’ to utter against Global Boris in private. In public he banned the British Home Minister from a meeting. British commentators called it ‘over reaction’ without adding ‘over reaction to a clown’.

More ‘illegal’ migrants have been invading the Global Britain shores since on boats. Meanwhile Boris who plays Laurel (from Laurel and Hardy) in real life with even scratching his hair and head, is dreaming of another shot at the French. What an end to an inglorious Empire and its once renown diplomatic corps.

Can Glasgow Summit COPe With Climate Crisis?

A UN-sponsored marathon conference to tackle the global climate crisis is due to being the British city of Glasgow, the coming Sunday (31 October) and will continue till 12 November. The world leaders will meet in the so-called last-ditch effort to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, besides considering plans to how to stop burning fossil fuels, stabilise global temperatures and share money to adapt to increasingly extreme weather.

The global leaders signed up the Paris Agreement in 2015 — with a supposedly non-binding target to keep warming well below 2 C above pre-industrial temperatures, and ideally 1.5 C — yet most of the participating countries continue to burn fossil fuels and chop down trees at rates incompatible with that goal.

With the effects of climate change visible in both rich and poor countries alike, the leaders are meeting for what analysts expect to be the most meaningful conference since that pledge. Climate change has shot up the political agenda amid deadly weather extremes and mass public protest, and leaders of several polluting countries have pledged to decarbonise their economies by the middle of the century.

Summit’s Agenda

The world leaders got to choose how fast their country will cut emissions Under the Paris Agreement, besides agreeing to update their action plans for doing so every five years. But in reality just weeks before the summit, big emitters like China, India and Saudi Arabia are yet to submit new plans.

Reportedly UK, which is co-hosting the summit with Italy, has pressured countries to submit new plans and is pushing for concrete deals that would help reach those targets. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on world leaders to deliver bold commitments on “coal, cars, cash and trees.”

The UK is pushing for a treaty that would “consign coal to history” and has proposed a deadline of 2040 to stop selling combustion engine cars. It also wants to put more money into stopping deforestation.

According to the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) COP26 will work towards four goals: Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach, adapt to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilise assured finance to help developing and under-developed countries to attain emission cuts, and work together to deliver to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.

On the really big question of keeping the 1.5C temperature threshold within reach, the likelihood is that a significant gap will remain even after Glasgow. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, those countries that have used fossil fuels the most over the past two centuries – the US and from Europe – accept they will make the bigger cuts in the short term. The larger developing nations that are now the biggest source of CO2 – chiefly China – accept they will make the bigger cuts in the longer term.

The environmentalist and experts say that we can very easily understand the colossal and disastrous results of the climate change, if we can observe the following four weather changes, which have been caused by the increasing global temperature due to the emission of CO2 and other poisonous gases like methane into the atmosphere: Hotter and longer heat waves, more persistent droughts, more fuel for wildfires, and more extreme rainfall events are the resultant climate change vagaries.

Meanwhile, an interesting report by the US intelligence agency’s assessment of climate change has come out and as per the report, India and Pakistan are among the 11 highly vulnerable countries in terms of their ability to prepare for as well as respond to the environmental and social impact of climate change. The first-ever US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the issue of climate change has been published, and it adds that India along with China will be crucial in determining the trajectory at which there is a rise in global temperatures. On the other hand, the report has downplayed the role that the Western world has played in the problem of climate change. Further the report has warned that the possibility of geopolitical tensions and the risk to US national security are present due to global warming in the run up to 2040.

Expectations From Summit

In another development before the summit, India has said that it will raise the topic of compensation to developing nations for the losses caused by climate disasters. The Indian environment ministry said that India stands with other low-income and developing nations on the matter and the compensation clause will be negotiated at the upcoming climate summit.

India has reiterated that the countries responsible for climate change should finance what they have committed to and make technology available at an affordable cost. It is also confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will put forward the Indian stand at the summit

Meanwhile, reports say that Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International has warned against efforts by countries and corporations at the forthcoming talks in Glasgow to “green wash” their on-going pollution of the planet.

By doing so, governments would “give that kind of hope and confidence to their people that they got this and that they’re willing to do things that their corporate interests don’t want them to do,” she added.

Morgan pointed to leaked documents showing how countries such as Australia, Brazil and Saudi Arabia are apparently trying to water down an upcoming UN science panel report on global warming as evidence of the way in which some governments’ public support for climate action is undermined by their efforts behind closed doors.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace indicate how those countries wanted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to remove references to the need to shut down coal-fired power stations, reduce meat consumption and focus on actual emissions cuts rather than ways to capture carbon already released into the atmosphere.

Various outcomes of the Glasgow Summit in view of the non-adherence to the goals of the Paris Agreement are being predicted. Yet, barring a complete collapse in the talks, there are likely to be a range of tangible outcomes. It’s expected that more countries will announce they are moving away from using coal for energy, and more nations may probably sign up to curb methane emissions.

There is only a moral pressure to improve your offer, and a degree of embarrassment if a country doesn’t step up to the mark. Glasgow will reveal whether this approach actually works.

As Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena has put it succinctly and wisely in a recent speech, tackling climate requires a great deal of fortitude, imagination, hope and leadership. If western leaders listen, engage and act decisively on what science demands of them, there is still time to make COP26 the success it desperately needs to be.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on issues related to Muslims, education, geopolitics and interfaith)

Weekly Update: ModiVac Certificate; Promiseland COP26

ArunBhai Shah was fully armed with all paperwork to get into the UK on a visit. He had his passport, visa, invitation and a Covid Vaccination certificate. Everything was fine according to the immigration officer. Except the Covid certificate. Her Majesty’s Border immigration officer (IO) looked puzzled at the certificate and asked Mr Shah if this was his certificate.

‘Of course sir,’ Mr Shah replied. Not satisfied, officer said, ‘It has your name, but the picture on the certificate does not look like you. You are only 36 and this picture looks like your grandfather or father.’ Oh, said Mr Shah proudly, ‘that is Mr Modi’.

‘Modi?’ asked immigration officer. ‘Why have you got someone else’s certificate and your name on it? Is this gentleman part of your team? Where is he?’ Mr Shah was confused. He is a die-hard Modi fan, Mr Shah is a Gujarati and is nationalist about everything that comes from Gujarat. He is dead proud of Mr Modi, the PM. How dare the officer not know Mr Modi whose party has spent millions to reach the number of followers that Trump had on Twitter.

‘Mr Modi, sir is our Prime Minister!’ said Mr Shah some what irritated that this English immigration officer did not know who the great man was.’ If you see TV or newspapers, you will know.’

Immigration Officer, ‘No need to get irritated Mr Shah, but why have you got your Prime Minister’s Covid Certificate and put your name on that?’

‘He is our PM and it is under him that the Covid vaccination programme was done in India. So all Covid certificates have a picture and we are very grateful.’

‘But you are a democratic country, isn’t the programme under the Government? We don’t have picture of Boris Johnson on our certificates and we haven’t seen pictures of any other world leaders on any Covid certificates. Even Mr Xi does not put his picture on certificates of Chinese. Was this funded by Mr Modi’?

‘No, I paid for vaccination and certificate sir.’

‘Ok. Not to worry. Just take a seat please’. Off went the immigration officer to his superior, quite unconvinced.

‘Dave,’ he said to his superior, ‘There is a chap here form India with a Covid certificate with his name but the picture of who he calls is his Prime Minister. It doesn’t make sense to me, can it be a forgery?’

‘Oh don’t start. I have nearly a plane load of people sitting in the interview room all with the picture of the same man. They say he is their Prime Minister. I haven’t seen that before. Not China, Putin or even tin pot countries have done that. I don’t get it. Must be a forgery. Sheena is on to the Home Office who are on the Foreign Office. Let’s wait see what they say, I’ve stopped the interview for the time being,’ said immigration officer Peter’s superior, Dave.

Meanwhile, Mr Shah was getting annoyed and agitated. How come they don’t know Modiji and why are they surprised that his picture is on the certificate. After all, without Modiji, no one would have got a vaccine.

Three hours later and no pani puri or channa bhatura, the senior immigration officer came back. And told his staff to let them all through. ‘Just check the names.’

Peter the immigration officer asked Dave the senior officer. ‘So what’s the story?’

‘Well Foreign Office called the High Commissioner who made some enquiries and said that yes although the tax payer pays some of the costs and the patient also pays, the Prime Minister has seen this as a great opportunity to promote himself. He is apparently having some problems in the popularity stakes. There is a farmers’ dispute that has dented his standing and he has failed to win a couple of regional elections. So he wants to make people believe that he made and delivered the treatment.’

‘Wow, I tell you if Boris does that, I am personally going to rip the certificate in front of him. Bit desperate isn’t it?’ Said Peter. Back at the desk, ‘Mr Shah, our apologies. Have a good stay in United Kingdom and thank your Prime Minister.’

ArunBhai Shah was happy as can be. The British officer even said ‘Thank the Prime Minister’. I will personally write to Modiji and tell him world appreciates what he has done. No other PM would have allowed vaccination! Modi ji ki jai jai, Corona ki hai hai.

No Xi, No Putin, So Modi Will Save COP26

The great Boris who promised a British version of Disneyland for everyone after Brexit, is now keen for the world climate summit COP26 to be ‘a whopping’ (his favourite word) success and promise a perfect atmosphere where fossil fuel and coal can be used without any danger to the climate. Unfortunately, President Xi and Putin who believe in delivering on their word, decided to miss the great world climate jamboree at Glasgow. But Boris is saved by no other than fellow democrat and show biz PM, our own superstar Narendra Modi ji who had promised ₹15 lakh in every Indian’s account and a job waiting for all yet to be born Indians. It is easy to see what COP26 will be like.

Neither Boris nor Modi has ever shied from fulfilling the ordinary voter’s dream call. No referendum needed. If ten citizens dream up their version of the perfect world, it will be announced. No problems. The Government will be committed to it.

Committing and delivering are two different ministerial departments both in UK and India. Fulfilling a dream by announcing its ambition from the steps of Downing Street or PM house (India) is not same as delivering it. In both democracies, there are more elections to come and someone else (new PM) can have the headache of delivery if they want. The thick wall between Dept of Hope and Dept of Reality is yet impenetrable in both countries.

So COP26 will be a great success by spin and plans that make a rainbow look dull. While Boris is committed to building a new coal plant, refuse to put Sellotape or even Blu Tack on houses leaking heat, he is also going to give the speech of his life on how within a few years, every one’s lung will have 100% oxygen without any soot in it.

There may be something in it. Many Covid patients, and patients with pneumonia or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, usually end up getting 100% Oxygen in the Intensive Care Unit through an Oxygen cylinder. If everyone’s lung gets clogged with Carbon and everyone gets pneumonia because heating becomes too expensive to afford, then they can all carry 100% Oxygen around.

What will Modi ji Promise? There are rumours that by the year that India becomes Jagat Guru, i.e the Oxbridge of the world, he will have net zero carbon in India. Well there are some milestones to achieve. He didn’t say all of India will be net zero. With leadership of world’s most polluted cities, net zero is a tall order. Unless like note bandi, there will be overnight order at 00.01 on some day after COP26 that no one is to use petrol, gas or diesel. Even Modi ji won’t dare do that, tough as he is in seeing the aam aadmi suffer and still vote for him. So net zero addicts can trek to the Himalayas in India.

Secondly, the Jagat Guru time is a few centuries in the future when the rest of the world collapses and Indian scholars stop copying western ideology but put ‘made in India’ on it. So there is in fact a long time before net zero carbon is to be delivered.

The rest of COP26 will no doubt remain mesmerised as most British are in UK with Boris, despite him competing with Bolsonaro and Trump for the highest Covid deaths. Masochism is an English trait. And the conference will no doubt be in awe of Modiji in his holy attire and announcement of climate nirvana through yoga.

Putin and Xi know that if they go, Boris and others will try and blame them for bringing the world to this disaster while they (Boris and Biden) will save it. Not withstanding that the industrial revolution started in good old Britain and the fact that Britain has probably been responsible for more than 50% carbon in the climate over the centuries. Both Xi and Putin will be blamed even in their absence but they can watch the circus from home. Even oil dependent Saudi Arabia is going to announce it will be net zero by 2060. Perhaps that’s when its oil will dry up. COP26 is going to be a great PromiseLand.

Brexit Britain, The Boris Touch

Brexit seems to be one of those long Broadway plays that the Brits like, with pointless intrigues, family feuds and an ending that could be predicted at the beginning. A confined theatre is a British temple, Brexit is now being played in the boundaries of Britain with the whole world as spectator and Europe in the demonic role.  A new twist has been introduced to what was becoming the Brexit writer’s block. It has been spiced up with an unexpected Eastern flavour, the Boris touch, with the ending become ever more exciting, dramatic and cliff hanger. Boris has brought a new dimension into British politics, so far missing.

The West and particularly the English, like to be seen to be playing fair by the rules. Rule of law is the official religion of the United Kingdom. Like all religions, it is a fairy tale idealism which works for most things with some degree of hypocrisy but gets stuck when real life gets tough. When the ‘rule of law’ is not working for the English or comes to a dead end, the English scuttle around to find a loophole in the small print, divide the opposition, and transfer the blame. Usually it moves on with a deviant combination of creative energising of the almost hidden small print, confounding the opposition and aided by the lack of a constitution which enables flexibility in interpretation of ‘convention’. The history of the Empire is full of this tactic.

Unfortunately for the English, the Europeans are also immersed in this skewed game of rule of law and are familiar with the British tactic. Hence attempts at dividing the EU, at making the Europeans the scapegoat for refusing to accept a ‘messy and fantasy solution’, and failing to treat the Brits on par with the gods, has all failed. Remember, ‘gods’ are usually above the everyday laws of mortals. Along comes Boris Johnson to save a play repeating scenes under Theresa May. The public attention was waning.

Boris has a Turkish ancestry, on the great grandfather, so a percentage of him brings an Eastern approach now to the Brexit game. The East generally sees rule of law as a utilitarian tool used by the politically powerful while they remain above it. It is no wonder ‘rule of law’ does not appear to work as ‘equitably’ in most countries east of Greece as it seems in the west. Perhaps the difference is that in the west there is craft, pretence and play when rule of law is bent, whereas in the East, power dispenses with the drama and gets to the desired outcome unashamedly.

The UK has now brought in the ‘curry’ option. With the Brexit stasis becoming deeply sclerotic as Parliament could not find any road, lane or even a rope to pull itself through the self-imposed barriers, in came Boris with his eastern temperament woken.

He first warned the Brits of the great Turkish migrant invasion for which only Brexit was a defence. In April 2016, Mr Johnson warned: “I am very pro-Turkish but what I certainly can’t imagine is a situation in which 77 million of my fellow Turks and those of Turkish origin can come here without any checks at all. That is mad – that won’t work.” Now with his Turkish roots he is Prime Minister. Talk about ironic prophecy.

He has dismissed the sacrament of every convention and unwritten rule that has prevented the Crown to institute a proper Constitution and which defined the mystery of Britain. He found the greatest loophole. There is no written constitution so why not open the gaping hole that had so far been covered with customised verbal straw, that is convention. He has driven a bulldozer through propriety of office and government.

Extraordinarily, he is the leader of Britain that every politician and commentator who can say so does say so without embarrassment that he cannot be trusted! Imagine, a country being asked to live by rule of law, have integrity but its leader unashamedly is considered a pathological liar in office! Brexit has brought politics to this level. A new for the office of Her Majesty’s Prime Minister.

Boris prorogued Parliament (suspended now) for long period against convention until courts reversed it: and then against ‘traditional wisdom’ threw out the most staunch members of the Conservative Party who were considered its pillars if not foundation, including grandees and Churchill’s son; has says anything to anyone as they want to hear and then denies he said it; exploited the Queen in his machinations and even called Parliament to sit on an emergency war footing on a Saturday. The unwritten constitution has been exposed by him as the infamous Emperor’s non-existent clothes.

Like leaders in some eastern countries, Boris is pushing as far as is possible, breaking convention as far is possible and ignoring etiquette as far is possible until people go to the courts to stop him. If he carries on, sooner or later the courts will be in a knot.

Brexit has not been done yet but it has taken its toll. It is a war come home and grown into a multidimensional civil war. It is almost the Middle East without the violence. The different camps range from no Brexit, to a Brexit with no Deal to a Brexit with any Deal to a Brexit with a Deal with Customs Union with Europe (meaning obeying EU regulations) and a Brexit with labour laws aligned with Europe and so on.

The British parliament itself is a spectacle. No party can command complete loyalty, (except perhaps Scottish Nationalists). Parties dominating England and Wales all have conspirators galore now.

Britain, or at least England has changed and will change for ever after this. This is a tectonic phase in modern Britain. Calls for a proper written constitution are growing. Some are even predicting the end of the Monarchy on whom convention depended. Some are predicting a move away from the simple majority democracy that UK has and some are predicting a new phase in which smaller parties will reign, perhaps a proportional representation model of some European countries.

The end of United Kingdom is prophesised by many a pundit and politician now. Few think that the country can be united after three years of bitter differences. Scotland is gearing up for another referendum. Northern Ireland’s nationalists are muting a referendum to separate from Britain in near future. That leaves Wales and England.

It is also interesting that this country which ran a racist Empire once, now has its four most important positions in Government run by children of migrant families. The PM has Turkish roots, born in New York. The Foreign Minister is son of a Czechoslovakian Jewish father, The Home Minister is daughter of East African Gujratis and the Chancellor is a son of Pakistani immigrants. It shows how far Britain has come in being a real multicultural and multiracial country. With Brexit, a new Britain is rising as Imperial Britain is dying.

As for Brexit, Boris Johnson is likely to favour a Brexit Deal where Northern Ireland is ditched. The majority of English see Norther Ireland as a burden. He may even stitch up with Scottish nationalists and offer them a referendum. He is likely to get support from some Labour MPs so he can ignore the Northern Irish Unionists (those who want to remain within UK, DUP) who have been a major obstacle to any agreement on Brexit.

After all this real life and often humorous grand Brexit theatre which has made Comic halls irrelevant in London at the moment, and which has made West End plays appear as Children’s entertainment, the end game may still be another referendum and back into EU after a short Brexit. But Brexit Britain will have undergone fundamental change in these three years of internal trauma. It is already being seen very differently by the rest of the world but will be even more after the Boris touch at the heart of an Imperial power that made ceremony, pomp, convention and tradition the sacred unwritten constitution of Great Britain. All that is being blown away by Boris the Turk.