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  Opinion   Columnists  04 Aug 2023  Farrukh Dhondy | Does Sunak have no fashion sense…or is he simply behind the times?

Farrukh Dhondy | Does Sunak have no fashion sense…or is he simply behind the times?

In his words: "I am just a professional writer, which means I don't do blogs and try and get money for whatever I write."
Published : Aug 5, 2023, 12:10 am IST
Updated : Aug 5, 2023, 12:10 am IST

Now Derek Guy, a men’s fashion expert, contends in The Times that Hedgie’s fashion sense is stuck in the year 2000.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (AP File Photo)
 Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (AP File Photo)

“The temple bell rings out loud

So that gods can hear it

The muezzin on the minaret calls to prayer

So, unbelievers can fear it

Bachchoo remains fallen but proud

He has unlearnt every prayer

Staying aloof from the pious crowd

Shunning hope, embracing despair!”

From Sober Day, by Bachchoo

Hedgie Sunak, his Tory Party still way behind Labour in the polls, is now announcing policies which he calculates will restore the Tory fortunes. He almost did when, in February, he renegotiated the deal with the EU on the BoJo-botched Northern Ireland Brexit Protocol. He negotiated his altered deal with the EU in Windsor and, using the presence of King Charles III, called it the Windsor Framework. It seemed popular but then the Democratic Unionist Opposition party of Northern Ireland refused to accept all of it. Its instrumentality in the Tory resurgence was therefore short-lived.

Nevertheless, this week Hedgie announced new policies. His government will go ahead with building new houses -- popular. It will also expand the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas -- some critics say that would be environmentally damaging, but does the voting populace care?

Probably not, if it reduces gas prices.

And of course, the “Stop the Boats” bill which was passed in Parliament is still, however, nasty and impractical, but is being played as Hedgie’s trump card. Critics say this “Illegal Immigration Bill” is a stunt that can’t be practically implemented.

This week its stratagems suffered a setback. Cruella Cowardperson (Oh, OK… Suella Braverman), the home secretary, has requisitioned large ocean barges to house asylum-seekers while their claims are examined. This, she says, will save the taxpayer millions of pounds spent on the accommodation, etc, of these wretched exiles. Now the fire service has

publicly declared that the recently hired barge is a death trap. Cruella has been thinking again (it’s commonly accepted that thinking needs a brain) and is going to commandeer surplus Army tents.

Even with all this turmoil, effort at electoral redemption and debate, two items about Hedgie surfaced in the national news this week, one routine and the other one curious. The first was that he and his family were going on holiday. It’s now been publicly announced that they will be going to the United States, including to Disneyland. The other item is, as national commentary, a bit strange but much more interesting.

Fashion commentators have written long articles about the shortness of Hedgie’s trousers. Hedgie constantly prefers to wear expensively tailored trousers, the bottoms of which don’t drape in small crumples over his shoes but hang a few inches above his ankles. When he sits down, the trouser-legs climb to reveal socks and half his shins.

But why? There is speculation that Hedgie, who is shortish, mistakenly believes that this trouserly-shortcoming makes him look taller. If he does, perhaps he should use a full-length mirror more often. The idea that the richest British PM in history is trying to save on a few inches of cloth to lower the price of his hand-tailored suits is patently absurd. Dismissed!

Now Derek Guy, a men’s fashion expert, contends in The Times that Hedgie’s fashion sense is stuck in the year 2000, when, for a brief time, short trousers were the vogue.

Guy contends that Hedgie is fashion-conscious, but 23 years out of date. As proof, he quotes the brand name of the shoes that Hedgie wears. Again, fashionable in 2000 (AD, that is). So is Hedgie’s idiosyncrasy an oversight, following advice from some analyst of the voting intentions of the fashion freaks, or just that Hedgie is behind the times.

Now, gentle reader, I don’t know if all males have some shameful or embarrassing episode to do with trousers, but I certainly have had at least two in my short and happy existence. I was fourteen years old when I finished school in Poona -- now Pune -- and enrolled in college. I always wore shorts, as did most of my classmates, to school. The only occasions to wear long trousers, of which I must have had a single pair, was to go to the fire temple on Parsi New Year or perhaps to go to a Parsi wedding celebration and wear them instead of the dark velvet shorts.

So, I thought nothing of going to college on the first day of term in my normal wear. My sister, who was in the year above me in college and a renowned local beauty, at least on campus, returned home that day furious.

“He came to college in his shorts, and everyone knew he was my brother and they laughed at him,” she protested to my guardian aunts.

I was hustled off to the tailor in Centre Street and my aunts paid an emergency fee for two pairs of trousers to be delivered that night.

The second embarrassment: A Mrs Vesughar, overseer of all the students who had won a Tata scholarship to go abroad, had been a student at Oxford in the 1920s. Her hired tailor fitted me out with three pairs of “Oxford bags” -- expansive woollen trousers. I arrived in England wearing one of them. All the lads in Cambridge were wearing Mods and Rockers’ fashions and some wore jeans. I was a very odd man out and endured the embarrassment while I saved up for weeks to buy myself some nondescript, in-fashion trousers.

Will Hedgie feel embarrassed enough to get with it -- whatever IT is?

Tags: farrukh dhondy, rishi sunak british pm, boris johnson