Sunak is known as Maharaja of the Dales, Dishy Rishi, India’s son in law, Disney prince version of a Tory MP and People’s Chancellor.
London: Rishi Sunak is UK’s most popular politician (with ten percentage points above the Prime Minister) and the fifth most famous, according to a recent YouGov poll. A Savanta-Comres poll found that two thirds of UK adults trust Rishi Sunak to do what’s best for the UK economy.
The Chancellor enjoys public popularity ratings and awareness way above his cabinet colleagues and the Budget this week has done nothing to change that.
Sunak has been the man about town—whether in a hoodie, shirt and tie, lounge suit or flak jacket, he is always immaculately groomed, coiffed and composed; his social media is world class with a glossy umbrella website called “Compiled Social” Compiled: rishisunak, with links to all his stylishly branded and “everything you need to about Rishi” platforms (Linked-in, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).
Brand Rishi has been developing since Allegra Stratton (now the PM’s Press Secretary) joined his communications team and Cass Horowitz became his Specialist Advisor in 2020. The marketing process is ongoing. Sunak’s social media posts have an engaging folksy tone and are universally appealing. Early on, Rishi Sunak’s signature was introduced into the right hand corner of announcements, a personalising touch. Pre and post-budget chats and conversations with well-chosen celebrities, financial experts and broadcasters have grown his outreach and expanded awareness of him; the press has been reporting Budgetary snippets all week. Just before the Budget announcement the Sunak team released a six minute of the Chancellor catching us up on events during the past year.
The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle is not an admirer of Sunak’s pre-Budget public relations, Hoyle does not rate individuals hogging the limelight leaking about policy; he prefers the tradition of announcing the Budget to MPs in the Chamber before briefing the media.
Unlike former Chancellors, Sunak has many epithets: “Maharaja of the Dales”, “Dishy Rishi”, “India’s son-in-law”, “Disney prince version of a Tory MP” and “People’s Chancellor”. It is unknown in UK for so many of the population to be as aware of a Chancellor. On the YouGov poll, Sunak scores higher than the PM and the Leader of the Opposition on the attributes of competence, trustworthiness, strength and likeability. Said to be the most preferred Chancellor since Gordon Brown, who is remembered for his catchword “prudent” or “prudence”, Sunak’s catchword will most likely go down in history as “honest. He is a user friendly Chancellor.
Since 2015, when Sunak became MP of Richmond in the Yorkshire Dales, succeeding William Hague, his star was in the ascendant. Sunak’s commitment to a Great and Global Britain after leaving the EU clearly appealed to Boris Johnson. The self-confidence of Sunak even privileged him to stand in for Johnson in election debates and on the campaign trail. Since the election and departure of Sajid Javid from No.11, Sunak has introduced a new younger following of city and business-types, and of the India diaspora.
After the Budget YouGov polled Westminster voting intention at 45% Conservative and 32% Labour—a very fine lead for team Johnson. Predictably after the 2021 Budget there are the usual snipes and gripes from economists and political adversaries, but overall folks are pleased and consider Sunak as an asset to Johnson. It is reported they work well and closely together. Many think Sunak is really ambitious, something he regularly denies but it is well known that occupation of No11 is a stepping stone to No10 and with the talent, stability and the scale of uniquely unconditional support behind him, Sunak is in pole position the next time a leadership contest arises.