Tuesday 25 October 2022

Rishi Sunak is the youngest and richest PM since the 19th century and the first not to be Christian or godless

Richi Sunak at 42 is the youngest British Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool, who was 41 when he took the job, was Prime Minister when Napoleon was defeated, served longer than Margaret Thatcher but is now chiefly remembered as the answer to difficult pub quiz questions. He is 18 years older than Pitt the Younger and older than lots of others, including Lord North who lost America. 

Will Mr Sunak resemble Pitt, Liverpool or North?

The richest man to become British Prime Minister was Disraeli's patron the Earl of Derby, who had a fortune in excess of £7 million (about £444 million in today's terms). Mr and Mrs. Sunak have about £730 million between them but most of that belongs to Mrs Sunak.

By the way some great statesmen have been hugely rich, including Wilberforce, who is responsible for abolishing slavery, and Shaftesbury thanks to whom chimneys being swept by boys stopped being a thing.

All our previous Prime Ministers were Christian to some extent (David Cameron plagiarised Boris's remark about his faith being like the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes) apart from atheists like Macdonald, Attlee and Callaghan, a Baptist lay preacher who lost his faith. I don't think Churchill believed in God. I am not sure Bonar Law or Lloyd George did, though the latter loved singing hymns.

But they were Protestant atheists and, as they tell you in Northern Ireland, there is all the difference in the world between Catholic and Protestant atheists. 

Jewish and Muslim atheists are even more different.

Disraeli converted from Judaism to Protestantism at 12. I suspect he already wanted to go into politics.

The only two 20th century Prime Ministers who were buried in Westminster Abbey were not Christians. Macdonald was an atheist or at least some sort of deist. 
Chamberlain was a Unitarian and therefore did not believe that Jesus is God.

Mr. Sunak is a practicing Hindu. 

I wonder if his Hindu beliefs will get him into trouble. Tony Blair called for Glenn Hoddle, the manager of the England football team, to resign after expressing the view that disabled people are paying the price for sins in a previous life. Hoddle said that his beliefs had been misrepresented, but it didn't save him. It had become a witch-hunt.

I attended a wonderful week long Hindu-Sikh wedding in New Delhi and a Hindu I met there told me that 'Hinduism is what you make of it'. 

I do not know what Mr. Sunak makes of it. 

Like all other world religions it thinks wives should obey their husbands and takes a poor view of homosexual acts. On the other hand, Hindu philosophy also embraces the notion of a third sex, which encompasses trans, effeminate men and mannish women.


  1. there are really only two religions: Christianity and Hinduism; the others being variations of Christianity's Monotheism or Hinduism's Pantheism.

  2. A neo-protestant missionary tries to proselytise an atheist Catalan anarchist during the Spanish civil war. "How can you expect me to believe in your god", answers the anarchist, "if I do not believe in mine, who is the only true God?"

    1. That is from Borrow, The Bible in Spain. I still haven't read him, I am ashamed to admit. Protestant not Neo Protestant.

  3. Disraeli’s baptism into the Anglican Church aged 12 years was decided by his father, Isaac, who seems to have had political ambitions for his son. The Test Acts , barring Jews and Catholics from becoming members of parliament (because they were required to take religious exams) weren’t repealed until 1868 I think.