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British politics

Britain’s “Obama moment”

Sunak and his wife celebrating the Hindu festival of Janmashtami. Instagram

It is “simply a remarkable fact”, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish, that Rishi Sunak, a “proud Hindu” and grandson of Indian immigrants, now runs the former colonial power. “Imagine what Gandhi might have thought of that. Or Churchill for that matter.” It’s become obscured in the “incredible mess” of recent Tory politics, but staring us in the face is a historic shift – a kind of “Obama moment” for Britain. This underlines something that many liberals have forgotten: the US and UK, nations of alleged “white supremacy”, have less racism than almost anywhere else in the world.

It is hard to imagine a non-white president of France, Germany or Italy, “let alone China or Russia or anywhere in central Europe”. It is hard to think of another empire that was “deliberately unwound by its architects”, and which, within two generations, installed the grandson of former colonial subjects to its most powerful office. And this happened via the Tory party – that “bastion of alleged bigotry” which has already produced three female prime ministers and currently has non-white ministers in three of the top four jobs. These successful figures disprove the lie of “white supremacy” and show instead that Britain has some of the greatest opportunities for racial minorities in the world. “I don’t know about you, but I’m proud of that.”