Of course, the big unknown is whether Sunak as Prime Minister will be able to turn the tide for the Conservative party in time for the general election, which must be held by 23 January 2025. Remember that, by 1997, the then Tory administration had overseen an economic recovery from the dark days of the late 1980s, but it was New Labour’s Tony Blair who reaped the political benefits with an astonishing landslide majority of 197 seats.
The then outgoing administration under John Major had lost the trust of the electorate five years earlier following the ignominious exit from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the electorate did not forget or forgive.
In the same way, will the Kwarteng ‘mini-budget’ still be in the minds of the electorate as a similar moment when the Conservatives lost their reputation for competence? Labour are very cleverly linking every increase in mortgage rates, every scare over pension funding, and every uptick in inflation to the Tories “trashing” the economy in the immediate aftermath of the Kwarteng ‘fiscal event’.
Or will team Sunak be able to prevent a repeat of that 1997 trouncing, by explaining how we got where we are (too much cheap money for far too long), and how growth across the whole economy can return?