Whisper it, but Rishi Sunak is making an extraordinary comeback

The polls may not yet reflect this; in fact, they remain utterly disastrous for Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party. But a lot of good things have happened for the Tories this week. Credit where it’s due – the sense we’ve had for weeks and months now that the Conservatives are facing some kind of electoral apocalypse, about to become as extinct as the dinosaurs, has been replaced by something more nuanced.

I appreciate that some of you still believe that the Tories have done such a poor job of squandering Boris Johnson’s 80-seat majority that they deserve not only to be punished but to be destroyed. Sunak is still seen by his fiercest critics as an unelected manifesto-abandoned law whose five-point plan is doomed to failure. With taxes, spending and immigration soaring over the past fourteen years, the Conservatives’ malaise is both palpable and understandable.

However, Sunak’s decision to call a snap general election on July 4 is quickly being justified as a rare example of sound strategic political thinking from the Prime Minister. It has not only caught Reform off guard, but also Sir Keir Starmer with his socialist trousers down. The Labor uprising over Diana Abbott’s candidacy in Hackney North has dominated the headlines, completely overshadowing Wes Streeting’s NHS proposals and Rachel Reeves’ economic plans. It has also reminded the electorate that Labor is as big a problem as the Tory Party.

After long accusing ‘broad church’ Conservatives of fighting like rats in a poke, we are now witnessing Labourites, both left and right, losing their religion. Despite the frenzy of handing back the whip to Abbott and days of dithering over whether she can stand as a Labor candidate, despite her 37 years in parliament and a 33,000-vote majority, the fiasco has given voters a glimpse of how a future Labor government will be divided.

If they’re like this when they’re not even in power yet, what kind of hell will break loose once they get the keys to Number 10? And while Labor has served up word salad and empty waffles over the past nine days (think the shadow chancellor’s “investment through partnership between strategic government and entrepreneurial businesses”), the Tories have come up with some actual policy measures.

Sunak has indeed had a lot of imagination. Social media platforms dominated by left-wing Generation Z predictably hated it, but the promise of ‘bring back National Service’ has gone down a storm with the Tory base. A survey by More In Common showed that among the general public, more people support it than oppose it.

Nigel Farage, Reform’s honorary chairman, tried to undermine the idea, before being reminded that he himself had called for National Service for 16-year-olds on his GB News show last year. And he says his decision not to stand as a candidate is a direct result of Sunak giving the go-ahead early last week.

Opinion polls by Savanta for this newspaper now show that the reforms may have peaked at 11 percent, while support has now fallen to 9 percent. Reform leader Richard Tice’s migrant tax plan is already falling apart at the seams after leading hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, who employs many foreigners at Brown’s hotel in London and The Balmoral in Edinburgh, described it as “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard”. It remains to be seen how the reform of the 630 candidates will go, with no time and even less money in the party’s coffers.

The Liberal Democrats are not doing much better, being left behind on anti-sewerage, socks and sandals by the Greens (currently ahead of the Tories among the under-50s, according to YouGov).

The yellow parties’ campaign has hardly been helped by the idiotic antics of their hapless leader Sir Ed Davey, who has been falling into Lake Windermere all week, childishly cycling down a hill with his legs in the air and on a slip-and- slide into the air. vein of a Total Wipeout contestant. Despite his desperation to be noticed, the Remainiac has been virtually absent from the campaign so far. If you can identify a Lib Dem policy (and you don’t work for the party), write it down.

The Conservatives have also been politically astute in announcing the triple lock plus for pensions – a formidable bit of political spin on solving a problem they have created by freezing tax thresholds for so long.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was unequivocal on air this week, insisting that taxes will fall if the Tories are re-elected. Reeves, on the other hand, has seemingly only been able to promise they won’t rise – while confusion remains over what Labor could do with VAT, amid suggestions the party could lower the VAT threshold for businesses to £50,000 after Hunt. increased it to £90,000.

Yes, the Tories may have to undo their own dirty work – but the effect is to make pensioners feel more secure and Labor look tougher. If the Conservatives remain brave, fortune will favor the brave. There is a lot in the manifesto. Simply put, it must convince people that they are better off under the Tories and poorer under Labour.

What we also witnessed this week was Sunak finally letting his guard down and showing us “the real Rishi”. Before he appeared The daily Tthe Telegraph podcast that I co-host with Kamal Ahmed, I expected the Prime Minister to be his typical irritable self (in that Savanta poll, voters regarded the former Winchester head boy and investment banker as more ‘arrogant’ than Starmer). But it looks like he finally got some media coaching.

As he entered the studio on Tuesday in an unashamedly cheerful mood, he gave us one of the most personal interviews of his political career, talking about everything from Star Wars to faith and family. He seemed human again. It was the nice Sunak we remember from lockdown.

Sure, this is a short campaign, but we’ve seen some big surprises in recent years. What some pollsters are saying (contrary to the opinion polls) is that Labour’s lead may well be exaggerated, and that the undecided will have a huge influence on the outcome.

Instead of a Tory wipeout and a Labor landslide, Starmer’s floundering could lead us to another Theresa May 2017 situation, with himself as emperor without clothes. Everyone laughed when Sunak first proposed a hung parliament. But the momentum building behind ‘no overall majority’ shows the Tories are running a much better campaign than Labour.

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