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  Opinion   Columnists  04 Sep 2022  Kishwar Desai | Liz Truss gets set for No. 10? Life is ‘smaller’ for Will-Kate...

Kishwar Desai | Liz Truss gets set for No. 10? Life is ‘smaller’ for Will-Kate...

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Sep 5, 2022, 1:59 am IST
Updated : Sep 5, 2022, 9:06 am IST

Kensington may now be used more and more as an office

Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State for Foreign, is set to become the country's next Prime Minister (AP)
 Elizabeth Truss, the Secretary of State for Foreign, is set to become the country's next Prime Minister (AP)

Today is D-Day. Hurrah!

For many of us watching the endless hustings and debates from the sidelines — (as we are non-Tories) — it will be pure relief to know who the next Prime Minister of the UK will be, within a few hours. It’s a day many have been waiting for — but with un-bated breath, as the surveys have been fairly consistent in their predictions. And these projections overturned what many of us thought was a given, when initially the former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was the clear leader for Number 10 among the Tory MPs.

But along came Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, the favourite on the third place. And then suddenly, we all said, hang on! — the Tories in the heartlands were rooting for her and not the ex-Chancellor. So, like that improbable dark horse, she shot to the head of the race, and has remained there.

Of course, there is going to be much analysis on why she won (if the surveys are correct) but it became clear that while certain parts of the media were determined to dislike her (including, surprisingly, The Times, a right wing paper, which could have been less visceral perhaps) — the popular Tory media was on her side. Ultimately, as one commentator remarked — she is a canny politician and a survivor of many battles. This has proven essential and in her very unhurried, calm style of addressing issues — she looks the antithesis of the blonde bombshell (i.e., Boris Johnson) whom she is replacing. But no matter who succeeds Johnson, India will forge closer ties with Britain — as now it is more obvious that Indians and India will continue to shine.

I remember some years back when Meghnad had stood for elections for the Leader of the House of Lords. Again it was the first time that an Indian had decided to step forward for the post. It was a historic first— and undoubtedly he paved way for others, both by his entry into the House of Lords, more than 30 years ago, and his desire to lead it. Though he did not win, like Sunak, he opened the way for another Indian to come forward. There just has to be someone who is ready to break the glass ceiling.

Of course, it is always possible that the Russians will hack the results or that there will be an upset at the very last minute —but at the end of the day, the UK is looking forward to someone new at Number 10.

Meanwhile, the war does go on — between Ukraine and Russia — and Britain remains a staunch supporter of the former. The support shows itself in different ways. Not just by hosting Ukrainians in UK homes, but now even tying up literary festivals with them. The famous Hay Festival is now collaborating with Lviv Book Forum and putting their programmes online in the second week of October. It is rather amazing to think that a country at war is still conducting literary festivals. And one which viewers, thanks to the Hay Festival, can see all around the world. It is a wonderful step as literature does have the power to change perceptions. But it also is a strange feeling that the war we thought would be over in a few months still carries on and on… and is almost getting normalised, as many parts of the world media are not even commenting on it anymore. However, the UK has not forgotten, and that is something Boris Johnson, through his whirlwind tours to meet Zelenskyy, has kept in the forefront.

Well, we have all heard of downsizing. And to be honest, we just did it in London, as post-Covid it seemed easier to live in a small apartment where you do not need much house help. One never imagined that the Royals might be also entertaining the same thoughts. And so we are told that from this weekend onwards Prince William, Kate and their three children will live in their “small” four bedroom cottage called Adelaide. Basically, they say they would like to do the school run, from here — like normal parents for their kids — and the new school is just nine miles away. One may also add that the Queen is just another 10 minutes away by car.

Their city home at Kensington may now be used more and more as an office. Of course they do have other homes — but right now this is the one they will stay in, and from all accounts, it is going to be a simple lifestyle, at Adelaide Cottage.
Not like the one enjoyed by Harry and Meghan at Frogmore Cottage, close by, on which many millions were spent on renovation. This rivalry among neighbours, of course, will make a nice episode for a future series of The Crown, which has now found the actors to play “Kate” and “Wills”.

Soon it may be difficult to say who is real and who is playing a part.
But as the cost of living crisis hits ordinary Brits, it is definitely more empathetic to scale down, than scale up. Even for the Royals.

Tags: liz truss, new uk prime minister, uk election