RISHI Sunak is a man on a mission: to save the Tory party’s skin and his own.  The opinion polls show  Labour on 46 per cent and the Conservatives on 26 per cent, so with a general election not much more than a year away, it’s squeaky bum time for Rishi and the Conservatives. As part of his mission, Rishi has opened political war on two fronts. 

Earlier this month he went to Jerusalem and met with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The British PM told Netanyahu: "We will stand with you in solidarity, we will stand with your people. And we also want you to win." In fact Britain felt proud, he said, to stand with the Israelis against  “the pure evil” of Hamas: "I know that you are taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians, in direct contrast to the terrorists of Hamas." 

You might feel that that last bit was rather a stretch: the pictures coming out of Gaza don’t suggest that Israel is taking any precautions against harming civilians. On the contrary, this looks more like an Israeli armed assault that doesn’t give a damn about civilian casualities. Hamas killed some 1,400 innocent Israelis; the death count for innocent Palestinians is put at some 10,000. As Leo Varadkar said, Israel appears more bent on revenge than anything else. 

The other front on which Rishi is hoping to project his wise and fearless image is  AI (Artificial Intelligence). So he called an AI conference in London and invited a lot of important people like Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden, but alas, both Joe and Em said thanks but no thanks. Busy doing other things. However, one big star did turn up: Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly Twitter), owner of the massively expensive Tesla electric car, and the man who has launched hundreds of small satellites – he’ll have 12,000 by 2026 – which he’ll sell to the highest bidder. And did I mention that Elon is the richest man in the world?  

The trouble with having the richest man in the world at your conference is that you have no control over what comes out of his mouth. At Rishi’s conference, Elon declared of AI:  “There will come a point where no job is needed. You can have a job if you want to have a job for personal satisfaction but the AI can do everything.”

Naturally, this made Rishi a little nervous, since the British public are used to hearing promises of more jobs, not none. So Rishi rushed in and told voters: “I’m someone who believes work gives you meaning. I think work is a good thing, it gives people purpose in their lives.”

Neither Elon nor Rishi need ever do a day’s work. Rishi and  his wife  are worth £529 million. Elon is worth more than £187 billion. The British PM is hoping nobody notices the bulge in his wallet as he speaks about the way work can give your life meaning.

At the same time, I’m with Rishi on this one. I was blessed with a job that put food on the table and also gave me much satisfaction and fun. But there are a lot of jobs which have zero meaning. And there are people doing not one but two jobs, both of which they hate, yet they have to keep toiling at them to keep themselves and their families clothed and fed. 

Poor Rishi. He’s in charge of a country that is an economic mess, filled with people for whom things keep getting worse, not better. So it’s hardly surprising that when Rishi says “I feel your pain” he’s received not with nodding heads but hoots of laughter. More and more it looks like Rishi is heading towards the next election carrying a one-word sign: ‘Loser’.