Rishi’s brand of conservatism is socially Farage, economically Truss

Rishi’s brand of conservatism is socially Farage, economically Truss

True patriotism is about embracing the diverse (Picture: Phil Noble/REUTERS)

It’s no coincidence that the Conservatives launched this manifesto at Silverstone.

Their campaign so far has been a high-speed crash and this manifesto launch marks the start of a new race to the bottom. 

Desperately trying to stem the tide of the voter exodus to Reform, they have become indistinguishable from them. 

The Conservatives have given up on trying to win the election, and are instead concentrating on trying to remain the party of the right, fearing the threat of Nigel Farage

Their manifesto embraces Faragism on immigration and justice while abandoning economic credibility. Their claims that wild spending promises are fully costed are, at best, tenuous, and at worst, dishonest.

They have reverted to the same wishful thinking that crashed the economy with the infamous mini-budget: believing growth will pay for everything while ignoring fiscal realities.

Rishi’s manifesto promises £30billion in tax cuts, but the only thing he’s truly slashing is his grip on reality. The so-called savings from squeezing welfare budgets, trimming the civil service, and closing tax loopholes they’ve ignored for 15 years won’t even scratch the surface of the crises our country faces.

Tories are wondering if their leader should be more like Nigel Farage or just be Nigel Farage (Picture: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The Conservative manifesto prioritises growing the wealth of pensioners, who are unlikely to vote for them, at the expense of opportunities for young people, who certainly won’t.

In their desperation, they have become the party that prioritises National Service — when it doesn’t inconvenience a political interview, of course — over the national interest and public services.

Long gone are the detoxified Cameroonian Tories who were socially liberal and economically conservative. Rishi has launched his brand of conservatism — socially Farage, economically Truss.

Sadly, the coming demise of Rishi’s leadership is just the start.

When he is deposed on 4 July — or sooner, given the rate at which his campaign seems intent on speeding into car crash after another  — we know what comes next: the few remaining Tory survivors of the electoral apocalypse will begin arguing over whether the next leader should be more like Nigel Farage or just be Nigel Farage.

But Labour and the Lib Dems must offer an alternative. 

Left-leaning parties and their voters have a duty to challenge the Tories (Picture: Phil Noble/REUTERS)

Let’s face facts: There is a growing portion of voters who find anti-immigration rhetoric attractive. However, left-leaning parties have a duty not to pander to this but to challenge it. They should not appeal to it, but stand against it.

Left-leaning parties and their voters have a duty to society to ensure the next campaign and parliament are not defined by nationalist terms.

If Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, and others try to appease the anti-immigration, anti-trans, illiberal, pro-culture war, hardline instincts and do not robustly challenge them, we face losing everything that makes our country great.

The Tories have chosen to pander to Faragism, and their manifesto launch shows it has cannibalised them: ‘random tax cuts for people in our country, no entry for those outside but let’s not talk about the economic damage either will do.’

But that’s not patriotism, no matter what Farage or Sunak say. True patriotism is about embracing the diverse, welcoming, and progressive values that have always made us strong. These values define our greatest moments; the moments where we welcomed desperate refugees fleeing war or offered sanctuary to the oppressed and ill.

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True patriotism lies in honouring the sacrifices of those who fought for the ideal of the very fair, free, and democratic election we’re holding right now, like the heroes of D-Day.

I know it is sometimes hard to feel it — especially with the circus of the last week of the General Election — but the United Kingdom is the greatest country in the world.

We can, and should, take immense pride in our history of being an outward-looking nation that sets the pace on the global stage and leads the world in every field, from health to human rights and science to transport. 

I love our country but this election, and its bloody aftermath, represents a profound battle for the soul of our country. The results are going to define the very character of our United Kingdom.

So now, more than ever, we must stand firm in our principles and work tirelessly to ensure they define our future.

Today, the Conservatives have given up on that patriotic vision of a progressive, global United Kingdom and chosen to accelerate towards a regressive little England.

But this is not inevitable.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are far ahead in this electoral race and neither should fall back to the car trailing so far behind them.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk

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