By Lord Ashcroft
This article first appeared in the Mail on Sunday.
Imagine an energetic new prime minister taking office at a time of huge domestic and international pressure. Many like his calm, businesslike approach to tackling the nation’s ills – the result of seismic global events and his predecessors’ blunders – and are willing to give him time to get to grips with them. After all, he has a whole parliament in which to sort things out.
This would be a fair description of Rishi Sunak’s situation were it not for some rather crucial details: that he doesn’t have a whole term to impress the voters, but something over a year; and that the four predecessors whom voters largely blame for the state of the country were all from his party. In that sense, Sunak faces a race against time, on two fronts. One is the months he has left to turn things around and show that Britain is on the right track; the other is the 13 years of Conservative-led government that voters are considering as the next election approaches.
In my latest research we found a good deal of sympathy for Sunak’s predicament, in the sense that the problems he faces are not of his making. But as people were only too ready to point out, just because something isn’t the government’s fault doesn’t mean it isn’t its responsibility to solve (more…)