Rishi Sunak’s man-of-the-people narrative is going to need more work

Twenty-eight hours after a vacancy finally arose, and surely months (years?) after he started brand-consulting it into earnestness and well beyond, Rishi Sunak’s campaign video for PM slid on to Twitter on Friday afternoon with an unctuous plop.

“Let me tell you a story,” opened Rishi, with a smile every bit as warm and authentic as Gordon Brown’s, “about a woman – almost a LIFETIME ago! – who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family.”

“This young woman is now in Brook House detention centre awaiting removal to Rwanda – and there will be plenty more where that came from if you vote for ME!”

Well not quite. This young woman – you’ll never guess what – was Rishi’s GRANNY! But she wasn’t one of those awful economic migrants we pay African nations to process for us, because of course she had a job and saved for a year for her husband and children to follow her (a year’s savings, adjusted for modern prices, being enough to get you a packet of Wotsits).

It was a bold move, given all, for some expensively hired strategist or other to open hard on his migration history. “I got into politics to give everyone in this country those same opportunities.” Um, had he skim-read what he was saying? Having contentedly propped up Boris Johnson’s government until (*checks watch*) Tuesday evening, and shared responsibility for the Rwanda wheeze and so much else, this was quite some doublethink.

But there was more – “My family is EVERYTHING to me!” Including, presumably, his until very recently non-domiciled multimillionaire wife, Akshata Murty, last spotted bringing cups of tea to journalists outside her home in mugs costing £38 each. The man-of-the-people line is going to take some work yet.

One could beg for a proofreader (“The decisions we take today will decide”) or wonder which bright spark came up with the line condemning “comforting fairytales”, when just 90 seconds earlier he had been employing literal sepia tones while posing as Harry Styles on CBeebies Bedtime Story.

But while plenty will mock (and 3,000+ quote tweets within 30 minutes were testament to how little work truly gets done on a sunny Friday afternoon), Sunak is well aware that it is 100,000 Tory members alone who will choose what he does next. Yes, Saj may have his bus driver dad and Truss her tanks, Suella may have already surged over the top in her war against “woke” – but patriotism, fairness, hard work, elbow bumps, dammit, this was his pitch. Are we ready for Rishi?

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