Shropshire Star

Political column – June 15

Here's your quick, easy-to-read guide to the Labour manifesto.


Chaos, chaos, chaos, chaos, chaos... around another 30 chaoses, unless I have miscounted. For the avoidance of doubt, we are talking about "Conservative chaos."

Then there's change, change, change, change, change... you get the idea. This is "Labour change."

Pictures of Sir Keir Starmer. Lots of them. What a geezer.

And let's raise a glass to Britain's small army of non-doms, who are going to pay for everything. We're going to need more of them once all the private schools have gone bust.

For the Tories, all I can report is despair in which their manifesto is an irrelevance because if they haven't done it in the last 14 years, why should we believe they will do it now.

Poor Rishi cuts a forlorn figure in interviews, handing out apologies instead of landing blows. He was meant to be a safe pair of hands. They thought they'd chosen Captain Sensible. Somehow they have ended up with Captain Calamity.

It is far too early for the Tories to be talking about his successor, and for a simple reason. They don't know who is going to survive the great cull which will take place on July 4.

But Sunak is soon to go, whatever. Objectively, he must be both sensible and highly skilled, but sensible people can make misjudgments. There is something more to it than that. He lacks the common touch. However decent and earnest he may be, ordinary people don't identify with him, even if he did go without Sky TV when he was growing up.

A Prime Minister with charisma and communication skills could have mitigated the damaging effects of the D-Day debacle just as Liz Truss might just have got away with her Budget – which everybody seems to forget gained a measure of cross-party support for many of its measures, especially the energy support package – if she hadn't been so sub-optimal on the communications front.

Sunak has proven to be ill-fated, even contriving to get exactly twice as many fixed penalty notices (partygate, seat belt) as Boris Johnson.

With just under three weeks to go to the general election the realistic height of his ambitions must be to keep down the Labour majority to double figures.

A last point on Rishi Sunak's D-Day mistake. Nigel Farage afterwards described him as "unpatriotic," and that he "doesn't understand our culture."

He was not saying he acted in an unpatriotic way, which would be within the legitimate realms of political discourse, he was saying he was inherently unpatriotic, with the implication that this was because of his Asian heritage.

It is true that there was cross-party criticism of his comments, but the reaction from Labour and self-styled progressive parties was distinctly muted. On that seven leaders televised debate, when Nigel Farage repeated the charge, there was no fuss from the others, who were invested in the political business of criticising Rishi Sunak.

If he had made this defamatory claim in relation to a Labour politician, somebody like Sadiq Khan, there would have been an explosion of outrage and the issue would still be dominating headlines today.

There is a lot of guff these days about "trust in politics." Maybe there was a time people trusted politicians, but if you can tell me when it was do let me know as I have no idea.

However, what is really profoundly lacking today is nobility in politics, as demonstrated by this episode which suggests that there is a hierarchy of victimhood – and being a Tory Prime Minister puts you some way down the list.


Chatting to somebody who has interfaced with the NHS, so to speak, this week, a familiar phrase cropped up.

"It's like the Third World."

The admission procedure goes something like this. 1 Get taken to hospital by ambulance. 2 Wait in a portable building outside. 3 Wait on trolley in a corridor. 4 Promotion to an actual bed in a corridor. 5 Eventually get on a ward.

Staff meanwhile work extraordinarily long shifts made longer by the fact that they have to arrive hours early to have any chance of finding a parking space before they are all taken.

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