One can only imagine how Sajid Javid felt yesterday watching Rishi Sunak, the man replaced him in his dream job as Chancellor, deliver a widely praised summer statement.
Javid won’t be full of envy about the economic situation the Chancellor finds himself in, but rather his increasingly angelic public image. It would appear that right now there is little Sunak can do wrong while his fellow Conservatives are heavily criticised for their coronavirus response.
Who knows what a Javid-run Treasury would have done during this crisis, but it would be far less generous than Sunak’s.
Whilst it was the Chancellor making the speech, many believe that these are very much the economic policies of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings. Javid was removed from his post over his refusal to sack all of his advisers in a move seen as Johnson trying to seize control of the Number 11.
Johnson loyalist Sunak was placed as the head of the Treasury because he was willing to do something Javid would never have: spend.
The Financial Times estimates that the Chancellor’s decisions in his summer statement, alongside plunging tax revenues, are likely to push the budget deficit up to £361 billion. This figure is more than six times the deficit forecast in March by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
This was a big financial package on top of an already unusually generous amount of stimulus for a Conservative Government. He must weigh up pleasing the traditional Thatcherite Tories whilst keeping Boris Johnson’s economic promises of investment in new “blue wall” areas that are likely to be in favour of more state support.
Tough decisions lie ahead for Rishi Sunak. While he has pleased just about all sides of the political spectrum, at some point, the halo is going to come off.