A date with destiny, a place in history?

A date with destiny, a place in history?

Is Rishi Sunak using a crystal ball and the dark arts to select his most propitious General Election date?    Maybe.  Or perhaps he is using careful polling and political analysis to plot a comeback-kid route victory?   Then again, he could be playing the Mr. Micawber strategy – something will turn up.  Surely?

A few PBers have recently suggested that since he knows the game is up, Sunak is simply stringing out his Premiership to the maximum, to move himself as far up the list of longest-serving PMs as possible.

This makes a lot of sense.  No one is going to remember the Sunak administration for its achievements – it has literally achieved nothing.  But no one wants to be a footnote in history or worse, like Truss, remembered for all the wrong reasons.  

So, assuming Sunak loses the next election and ceases to be PM at that point, and assuming also that his MPs are not crazy enough to stick the dagger in before the election, where would various election dates allow him to climb to on that all-time table of longest-serving PMs? 

At the time of writing Sunak lies in 48th place (out of 57), ahead of such giants as, er… Douglas-Home, Bonar Law, and of course Liz Truss. 

Sadly for Sunak, unless he can find a way to win the next election the best he can do is to climb to 40th position, and to do that he would have to hold the election on the last possible Thursday of this parliament – 23rd January 2025.   (Even that would leave him short of the not altogether excessive recent tenures of Brown – 37th, May – 34th, and Johnson 32nd.)

But Sunak knows he cannot sensibly wait until 2025 and has said as much.  Losing an election in May 2024 would lift him to 44th place, whereas holding on until defeat in the autumn would see him overtake another Prime Ministerial failure, Anthony Eden, to move into 43rd place. 

An election loss on Thursday 24th October would leave Sunak tantalisingly one day short of his 2 years as Prime Minister and because ‘2 years something’ looks much better than ‘1 year something’ I am beginning to think that November will be Sunak’s preferred option.

The table below shows his premiership duration and position in the table assuming he loses on various possible, probable, and not-so-probable election dates:

Finally, should we spare a thought for one Boris Johnson? 

Had he not been such a lazy, lying, incompetent, arrogant, bumbling idiot he could easily be facing the prospect of a 2024 election as incumbent Prime Minister with a good shot at a second administration.  A May 2024 victory, followed by another five years in power would have taken him to nearly 10 years as PM and just into the longest-serving top 10 – above his great rival David Cameron (23rd) hah!  Also, above such notables as: Peel (25th), Lloyd George (24th), Macmillan (18th), Disraeli (16th) and Johnson’s hero, Churchill (12th).  

What a prize.  What a fool!  

Should we spare a thought for Boris Johnson?  Nah.


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