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With this half-hearted, delusional manifesto, Rishi Sunak has all but given up | Martin Kettle

It would take a political genius to rescue the Tories now. Instead they have a leader more suited to churning out quarterly reports

Election manifestos are never going to qualify as works of poetry. Only a small proportion of voters will ever read them. Even the politicians will soon forget them. But manifestos matter all the same. They are a proffered contract to the electorate, in which a political party sets a direction and outlines its priorities in return for the voters’ support. At least in theory, the manifesto offers an electoral setting for overarching visions and for big ideas.

Rishi Sunak launched his 2024 election manifesto at Silverstone today with the claim that only the Conservatives have the big ideas that will make Britain a better place. But the Conservative manifesto turns out to be a negation of that claim. Sunak’s notion of a big idea is a politically impoverished and impoverishing one. For him, the promise of a 2p national insurance cut counts as a big idea. This is an accountant’s vision of political campaigning and not the vision of a national leader.

Martin Kettle is a Guardian columnist

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