Dear Uncle Kwasi,
Trust all is well with you.
What an incredible month and a week it has been for you—appointed chancellor on September 7, 2022, unveiling your mini budget on September 23, 2022, seeing the financial markets crash immediately, and then getting your P45 on October 14, 2022. You must feel humiliated in getting the sack less than 24 hours after going on air to say, “I’m not going anywhere.”
When you were appointed Britain’s first Black chancellor of the exchequer, very few Black people rejoiced at your milestone. Likewise, when you were sacked from your post 38 days later, very few Black people wept at your misery. Undoubtedly, you were the smartest guy in the room; your razor-sharp intellect honed at Eton, Harvard and Cambridge contributed to your meteoric rise within the Conservative party. So why were many Black people apathetic to your rise and fall?
Uncle Kwasi, it is because you spent most of your political career denying your Blackness. When the Windrush scandal exposed your government’s hostile policy of wrongly detaining and deporting Blacks who arrived in the UK from the Caribbean, you were dispatched to defend the government’s position by denying the claim of institutional racism. You once argued that there is a consistent expectation in the media that MPs from ethnic minorities should engage with “Black’ issues.” You said, “The heart of identity politics . . . has dominated the left for a couple of decades.” When you said, “To expect all Chinese people to have the same views on political economy, ethics, religion would rightly be thought of as racist,” you flung your race under the bus. To argue that you “Would only be able to represent privately educated, single, 40-something black men” is not only ridiculous but also ignorant.
It is undoubtedly a case of the chickens coming home to roost. In your dual role as the Black face of the Conservative party and the head negro of the Liz Truss Plantation, you threw your people under the bus to gain political capital. Now your good friend, prime minister Liz Truss, has thrown you under the bus to save her political career. You will go on in history as the worst and the second shortest-lived chancellor. Instead of being a modern Moses who could have helped deliver his people from the racial bondage of UKKK, you chose to be an honorary White who used his privilege to deny his Blackness. I have always said and will continue to say:
“It does not matter whether you went to Eton or No Eton
It does not matter whether you went to Oxbridge or No Bridge
It does not matter whether you speak the King’s English or No English
It does not matter whether you work in Goldman Sachs or No Sachs
As long as you are Black in the UKKK, you are nothing but a [N-word] once you turn your back.”
Uncle Kwasi, your political emasculation should serve as a wake-up call for Blacks ready to sell their racial birthright for a mess of political, social, and economic capital. I don’t believe that a Black person can be British. In my opinion, the term “Black British” is an oxymoron. One could be born in Britain, reside in Britain, marry a Briton or have a British passport, but as long as you are Black, your nationality will always be questioned. Hence, the standard follow-up question to “Where are you from?” is “Where are you from originally?”
Despite spending your career denying your Blackness, it’s time to realize that you are Black, Uncle Kwasi. Like the regular Black person, you were the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Like the regular Black person, you have been the fall person to clear your boss’s mess. Like the regular Black person, your mistakes have been projected on your race. Like the regular Black person, you have been held to a different standard than your White counterparts. When your fellow Etonian prime minister Boris Johnson jumped from one scandal to another, he got a first, second, third and fourth chance, not so for you. No hell was let loose when George Osborne screwed the poor with his austerity cuts, but when you took money from the poor and gave it to the rich through tax cuts, all hell was let loose.
In addition to denying your Blackness, you also spent a sizeable portion of your life defending the ideals of the free market. In your book “Britannia Unchained,” which you co-wrote with Aunty Patel, Dominic Raab, Liz Truss and Chris Skidmore, you argued that the British are among the laziest people in the world. You called for less regulation, low taxes, and welfare reforms. You defended an economic ideology that screwed and is still screwing the have-nots. But if you had got your economics right, you would have realized that your proposal to take the necessities of the have-nots and give luxury to the haves through tax cuts is socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. The so-called market that has been feeding on the poor has now eaten you up. You became a sacrificial lamb that the high priestess of finance laid on the altar to appease the bloodthirsty market god. With the high priest offering you as a burnt sacrifice to appease the fierce god of the market, the financial markets could calm down.
Uncle Kwasi, I hope you will learn from your humiliation and advise Aunty Kemi, Aunty Patel, and Aunty Suella on the folly of throwing your people under the bus. In the meantime, I leave you with my version of Martin Niemöller’s powerful quote:
“First, they came for the Caribbean immigrants, and I did not speak out—because I was not an immigrant.
Then they came for the welfare recipients, and I did not speak out—because I once worked in the City.
Then they came for the students, and I did not speak out—because I was a privately educated, single, 40-something Black man.
Then they came for the protesters, and I did not speak out—because I was in the Cabinet.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
I wish you all the best in your future endeavor Uncle Kwasi.
Ahmed Olayinka Sule, CFA
PS: the terms “Uncle” and “Aunty” are used as a mark of respect for you and your colleague’s status