Suspense continues: This is the week of reckoning for two of the most powerful ministers in Britain, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Priti Patel. The fate of Boris Johnson will decide their fate. If he goes, Priti Patel goes. Whether that means Rishi Sunak replaces him is a trickier matter. A third minister without portfolio, Alok Sharma, is also waiting in the wings, and watching in tension. Who isn’t.
A new row: Not a day passes now without a new dispute hitting the Boris Johnson government. The latest is an allegation by former minister Nusrat Ghani that she was removed from the cabinet because she is a Muslim. She said to Sunday Times that when she asked for an explanation she was told, “Muslimness was raised as an issue”. Conservative Chief Whip Mark Spencer said Ghani was referring to him but said that her allegations were false and defamatory. Boris Johnson has been forced to order an inquiry.
Remembering Netaji: The 125th anniversary of the birth of Subhas Chandra Bose was marked by Indian organisations around the country. Praises for Netaji were curiously unaccompanied by any awareness that the Indians honouring him are now residents or citizens of the country he fought against all his life. But by now any connection between the Britain of then and the Britain of today has faded away. They seem like two countries with the same name.
Home truths: Movement is expected this week on Vijay Mallya’s Regents Park home that ought to mean moving him out of it. The Swiss UBS Bank won its case to evict him after he failed to repay a loan with the house as mortgage. This means it’s time for the bailiffs to move in. And they are reputed to be a no-nonsense lot. But Mallya has a spectacular enough home in Hertfordshire where he mostly lives.
Unfair blame for Covid: A new indication from a shipping company shows that goods movement in Wales, a part of the UK, has fallen 30 per cent because of Brexit— and not the pandemic. The company Stena Line has revealed what the UK government refuses to say. The government has been blaming the pandemic instead. Now Ian Davies, who heads Stena’s UK ports, said the breakdown was a consequence of a collapse in the trading relationship with the European Union. Britain understandably wants to project a new relationship with India developing through trade talks under way.