On Sunday the will have been in power longer than New Labour.You might think that 13 years and ten days should have been enough time to roll out the full panoply of Conservative policies.

Time to slash the tax burden, deflate the bloated state, control migration, make the monolithic more efficient and inject more rigour and common sense into our education system.

Time, to quote TS Eliot, for a hundred visions and revisions.So what have they achieved? Have they transformed Britain into a Conservative nation? And more immediately, have they done enough to persuade voters they deserve another term in office?

The answer to the first of those questions is emphatically, no.Most of our institutions, seats of learning, regulators and quangos remain bastions of Left-wing liberalism.

Our history and traditions are reeling under relentless attack from the wokerati. The civil service has become part of a wider anti-Tory alliance.

On Sunday the Tories will have been in power longer than New Labour

On Sunday the Tories will have been in power longer than New Labour

Worse still, families groan under the highest tax burden since the 1940s.If the Tories stand for anything, surely it’s low taxation. Yet incredibly, figures in today’s Mail show the tax millstone is getting heavier. When the then chancellor Nigel Lawson introduced the 40p income tax rate in 1988, it was paid only by the 1.35 million highest earners.

Now thanks to thresholds being frozen over many years, nearly 8 million will soon be paying it, including many nurses, teachers, police officers and tradespeople.

It’s no longer a tax on the wealthy, but on ordinary workers – a drag anchor on aspiration and enterprise.That this should have happened under a Conservative government is shaming.

 

Rishi Sunak can still reverse this fiscal doom-spiral. But bruising local election results and polls consistently showing a large double-digit Labour lead urgently signal there is no time to lose.At a conference in London, Tory traditionalists have been sending out highly charged warnings to Mr Sunak on a long list of vexed issues.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman called for tougher curbs on legal as well as illegal migration, which has soared since Brexit.

‘Red Wall’ Conservative MP Miriam Cates warned ‘cultural Marxism’ in schools is ‘destroying our children’s souls’.

Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised the PM for breaking his promise to complete a bonfire of remaining EU laws.And tomorrow Brexit champion Lord Frost will demand หางาน cuts to state spending and red tape.

Rishi Sunak can still reverse this fiscal doom-spiral. But bruising local election results and polls consistently showing a large double-digit Labour lead urgently signal there is no time to lose

Rishi Sunak can still reverse this fiscal doom-spiral.But bruising local election results and polls consistently showing a large double-digit Labour lead urgently signal there is no time to lose

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) called for tougher curbs on legal as well as illegal migration, which has soared since Brexit

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) called for tougher curbs on legal as well as illegal migration, which has soared since Brexit

The Mail echoes all of these concerns and trusts that Mr Sunak is listening.

He has done a good job of steadying the Tory ship after the self-harming defenestration of Boris Johnson and the ill-fated Truss/Kwarteng interregnum.

He must now give the electorate positive reasons to vote Tory.The horizon looks bleak, but there are bright spots. As Dominic Lawson pointed out in this paper yesterday, the polls have Mr Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer neck-and-neck on the question of who would make the better prime minister.

This shows the PM is currently more popular than his party unlike Sir Keir, whose constant reneging on policy pledges have made him appear deeply untrustworthy.It is a weakness Mr Sunak can and must exploit.

If he can focus on low-tax, small-state Tory values, get a grip on migration, reconnect with his grassroots and restore party unity, he still has a chance of election victory.

Should he fail, with Labour plans to give 16-year-olds and EU citizens the vote and the Lib Dems set to demand proportional representation as the price of a possible coalition, Brexit could be trashed and the Conservatives banished to the political wilderness for a generation.

If that horror story doesn’t concentrate Tory minds, nothing will.