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  Opinion   Columnists  29 Oct 2023  Kishwar Desai | Will Boris become a journalist again? Sunak might go more anti-Green

Kishwar Desai | Will Boris become a journalist again? Sunak might go more anti-Green

Kishwar Desai, is the chair of the Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust, which is setting up the Partition Museum at Town Hall, Amritsar.
Published : Oct 30, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Oct 30, 2023, 12:05 am IST

Boris Johnson will be hosting his own news slot.

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (AP)
 Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (AP)

There was a time when former Prime Ministers and Presidents set up foundations and went on a lecture circuit. Or they wrote their autobiographies and became advisers to big corporations. No matter what they did, the project was always a money spinner. And no surprise, therefore, that Boris Johnson — who had been a very well paid journalist prior to joining politics — has secured another six-figure pay cheque. This time as a TV star — hosting his own news slot. He is already a high paid columnist for the Daily Mail. Rumours are that the Daily Telegraph, a sturdy right wing daily, is about to be sold. As it was Boriss old haunt, whoever buys it may want him back as an editor. Hmmm… all this does not augur well for his frenemies in the Tories and Labour. But to be fair, Johnson remains a popular figure no matter what he does — and he might just be opening a new arena for former leaders. And as the “former leaders” from the Tories are constantly growing, they do need new employment avenues for sure.

The present Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the meanwhile is preparing for the King’s Speech this week. There have been worries as he might go in for further non-Green policies. More exploration for oil, more support for car drivers — more reliance on fossil fuels. But it is quite unlikely that the King will agree to read out much of this. Let’s not forget that this is King Charles who has spent his lifetime talking to plants and protecting flora and fauna. It is not likely that even if he is a mere reader of the words of the government when he formally opens Parliament — he will say anything that hurts the UK Green agenda.   

In the meantime the Tories have heaved a sigh of relief that Sunak has completed one year without any major mishaps apart from most losing by-elections and growing the gap between his Party and his rivals under Kier Starmer who continue to be way ahead in the opinion polls. But if his job was to steady the ship he seems to have done so — and most rebels in his own party recognise that it is better he is allowed to complete his term in office. So the good news is that we will see more of Akshata Murthy who has been charming in her role as First Lady.

And If the Prime Minister is British of Indian origin, with in-laws in India, the leader of Scottish National Party Hamza Yousuf, of Pakistani origin, is worrying about his Palestinian in-laws in Gaza. But he is not alone as there are many British Muslims especially in the Labour Party who are high ranking members.

The leader of the Scottish Labour — Sarwar — is of Pakistani origin and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is also Muslim. Labour Party leadership used to be pro-Palestine. Now it has become like all other political parties, pro-Israel, in this episode at least. So we are back with public quarrels and splits — and Keir Starmer is caught in the crossfire.

On a more cheerful note, there is hope for glamorous women on the other side of 60. There is a new trend of older women who are being sought after by many high value dress designers as models. Dame Maggie Smith in her eighties, having been a stage and screen star, is the most recently featured model for Loewe. There have been other very beautiful actresses like Charlotte Rampling who has been appearing for Massimo Dutti and Helen Mirren for L’Oreal. Age does not wither them —and in fact, the wrinkles add experience, class and sophistication. With an ageing population women are doing what white haired men with wrinkles have been doing for a long time — representing themselves as part of a changing demographic. It’s great that the advertisers have recognised that older women like to look good — and if they can afford it — they like to shop!

After all, fashions change as do models who display fashions.

I must say that like many other authors I have always thought that magical realism and fantasy was like a clever cop-out. When you cannot resolve an issue while writing about the real world, create a paranormal solution — have vampires, and talking birds and thoughtful trees and people with super powers and the situation can be resolved without much trouble. But looking at the recent best sellers and TV shows that have created an alternate universe — and the growth of a new genre called “Romantasy” I am now headed to the British Library for its exhibition on Fantasy: Realms of Imagination.  It apparently does delve in deep from the Tolkein era to the present day — and many now believe that the transition to fantasy fiction — which is a billion dollar industry — appeals not just to the young but also to adults who are exhausted by the last few years of despair, post Covid. 

So if you find a talking dog and a romantic Martian, set entirely in another world, in my next book, you will know I am trying to break into this genre!

Tags: israel palestine conflict, rishi sunak british pm, boris johnson