As the dramatic campaign closes, is it really Britain's biggest problem?


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Is the unique election campaign actually dealing with the big problems facing Britain?

The battle buses are back on their final journey. Set piece debates are over. Party manifestos almost seem like a distant memory.

Polling Day is five days away and this time next week, on Saturday 6 July, you can expect the incumbents of Number 10 to assemble their Cabinet.

Time to take stock of the state of play after five odd weeks.

The Conservatives did not manage to narrow the gap between themselves and Labor in the polls, which they had hoped and expected.

His campaign has been characterized by mishaps and missteps, from its abrupt start, to the Prime Minister's early departure on D-Day, to another Westminster saga, where some Tories were accused of rigging the election. Bets were made on the date of, and are being considered. Gambling Commission

Whether those voters change their minds remains to be seen, but each has added to the sense that the campaign has been weak and poorly run.

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Leading cabinet ministers have been conspicuously absent from the campaign trail – perhaps a mix of running for the hills or scrambling for their seats. “It's terrible,” said one of his colleagues who was showing up.

In the past few days, Rishi Shankar seems to have received a sudden injection of energy, passion and determination, his performance in a TV debate and his apparent anger over the racist slurs about him apparently on Friday. It was created by a reform worker.

But what has really sunk some of his colleagues is that they had the advantage of knowing that the election was coming. Yet it is the Conservatives who are far from ready.

“The element of surprise is something you want to do to your enemy, not yourself,” said a former cabinet minister.

They have managed to put some pressure on Labour, particularly on immigration and taxation, but looking at the last five weeks you might wonder, if the Conservatives can't run a smooth campaign, how can they run the country?

The campaign for Labor has run more or less like clockwork. He did not have July 4 penciled in as one of the possible dates for the referendum, but he had long suspected that the Tories would call a surprise spring election, so he spent months preparing. .

Of course there have been accidents. Back in the beginning, the party's will-they-won't-they let Diane Abbott return to the green benches, which rattled many party members, and she seemed clumsy.

Sir Keir Starmer's supporters have often claimed some left-wingers of the party agreed to the end as an honor after all the furor during Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

But the pride of “transformative Labour” did not include the abuse of the party's longest-serving black female MP.

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And while the Conservatives failed to swing the polls, they put Labor under pressure to tackle their tax plans and migration.

There were moments when Sir Kerr faced questions from the public – ridicule, even when trying to justify being part of Corbyn's team and when answering questions about women's rights. They were strange.

The two main parties have also been regularly criticized by independent numbers for not being candidate enough on the dire state of the public finances – the reality, reckons the respected IFS and others, is that taxes or cuts are on the way. Whoever is in charge.

Let's be realistic: It's unlikely that any political party trying to govern after a few years of economic crisis will stand up and say, “Money is tight, by the way, more cuts are on the way. Or you will have to pay more.”

But there is deep skepticism from the IFS and others that any major party's funds actually increase.

It has been part of the ammunition used by some of the smaller parties in the sink and stormer.

The SNP, Greens, and Lib Dems – when their leader Ed Davey wasn't on a waterslide/paddleboard/waltzer or goodness knows what's next (I'm sure more stunts to come) – were the ones who went all out. It has been claimed that Labor is heading for No 10 and that they are the only ones who can keep them honest, and stop them just working from the Tory script.

The Greens are hoping to pick up more seats after years of success in local elections. The Lib Dems believe they are also going to make up a lot of ground and hope to become the third largest party in parliament again. This will come at the expense of the SNP who are trying to stem a slide after major upheavals.

My colleague Gareth Lewis explains here how Plaid Cymru may find it difficult to win two of its target seats this election. And in Northern Ireland, my colleague Jayne McCormack points out in our Election Essentials newsletter that the battle between the unionist DUP and nationalist Sinn Féin for the most seats in Westminster shows no signs of ending. Is.

She says it is a contest that is being watched particularly closely this year because for the first time since 2005, Sinn Féin looks like it could overtake its rival. It will be a symbolic moment for Irish nationalism and Northern Ireland in general.

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But the smaller party that has made the most noise is Nigel Farage's Reform UK. For weeks they've been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: a candidate who suggested Britain should not have fought World War II, to misguided comments by eight candidates that we revealed last week, towards some activists. Horrifyingly offensive racial slurs used from, which erupted into a race row.

The Tories ran their campaign from pushing for reform to defending their vote share. In the closing days, Reform UK is the party having to defend its values. It is likely that he will still have a decent chunk of support that will cut into the Conservative vote. As at many points in the party's history, a Tory leader is faced with how to handle pressure from the right wing of the (small) Conservative movement.

Even during the election campaign we have seen a clash within the Conservatives over whether Mr Farage can take his own place in the party. He is as determined to disrupt as ever.

How upset he actually gets, we'll see.

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Before the campaign began, there was a general expectation in Westminster circles that a campaign starring Rishi Shank and Keir Starmer would be, well, not exactly sensational.

In fact, from Sink's D-Day debacle, Farage's stormy entry into the campaign, 'Gamblegate' and the closing moments, Rishi Sink was probably more personal than he's ever been, it's all been slow.

But I can't help wondering if this is really a campaign where we've seen our politicians grappling with the big issues that affect us.

In the first part of the year, politicians loved to talk about the threats facing the world, but they chose not to overdo foreign affairs. The challenges and opportunities of technology that he often likes to talk about have also been more or less absent. How do we look after our vulnerable and elderly with social care?

What about the crisis going on behind closed doors in our prisons? Climate change? What is the actual scale of domestic debt? Really Could it mean in the coming years?

Of course, politicians align their campaigning with the top spot on voter lists.

Campaign in poetry, government in prose?

Perhaps more like this: campaigns on a few core issues that appeal to focus groups, and after a while worry about some of the larger issues of governing.

It's almost over. Our political parties have been doing their best for over a month, or what passes for it, to get you to back them. We are almost at that magical moment where it is all of us, not the politicians, who are responsible.

It is unlikely that any of the campaigns of 2024 will go down as the most impressive, moving, memorable political acts. I'm not so sure that after all the stress and tension of the past few years, the public will be in the mood to romance and be surprised by either of them.

But that doesn't make our decisions for next week any less important. The choice will affect us all.

Prime Minister Rishi Sink, Pat McFadden, Labor campaign co-ordinator, Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Stephen Flynn, leader of the SNP Westminster, will appear on the Laura Queensberg program on Sunday this weekend.

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