DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Daunting challenges demand Tory unity – Daily Mail

By Daily Mail Comment


In ten days’ time, Britain will have a new prime minister. To a public sick of the vain posturing of the political class, that moment can’t come too soon.
For it will mark the end of what has been a tortuous and needlessly vituperative Tory leadership contest, which feels like it has dragged on since Methuselah was a boy.
True, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have used the campaign to spell out their respective visions of how to revitalise the country. But it has seemed like the rival camps have spent more time throwing rocks at each other than explaining exactly how they’d solve the manifold problems coming down the track.
Liz Truss at the penultimate hustings in Norwich on Thursday evening 
Not only is this a gift for Sir Keir Starmer, the BBC and the Tory party’s foes, who will wheel out the bad-tempered soundbites right up until the next election.
The internecine warfare has also given the dangerous impression that there is a vacuum of political leadership at the heart of government. With the nation facing mountainous difficulties, a sense of drift is the last thing voters expect – or deserve.
Let’s be frank. Whoever wins the Conservative crown, and thus becomes Britain’s 56th PM, will be accepting something of a poisoned chalice.
Streets ahead in the polls, Miss Truss seems destined for No 10. The Mail fervently hopes so. We believe the Foreign Secretary to be an authentic standard-bearer for low-tax, pro-growth, small-state Conservatism – and she has the imagination, boldness and fortitude to succeed in the top job.
The most daunting challenge is the catastrophic cost of living crisis. Yesterday Ofgem announced the price cap for gas and electricity would rise to a punishing £3,549 for households in October – up 80 per cent.
Millions will simply be unable to pay their bills, with many others facing the appalling choice of turning off the heating, skimping on meals or racking up debts.
And how much higher could prices go? With analysts warning the cap could hit a terrifying £7,000 a year – around a quarter of the average British income – there seems no end in sight to the nightmare.
Even though this paper is clear that government spending is not a magic wand, ministers must do all they can to support the hard-pressed through this misery, even if it means adding to the national debt.
Of course, the reasons for the unprecedented price spike are no secret – a surge in global energy demand after the Covid lockdown ended and Vladimir Putin weaponising Russia’s gas resources.
But would we be in such a dreadful bind if British energy policy over the past two decades hadn’t been so grossly reckless?
By pursuing ‘net zero’ at insane speed to try to placate the unappeasable green lobby, our scientifically illiterate politicians failed to safeguard energy security.
Rishi Sunak speaking at the penultimate hustings events in Norwich on Thursday
To extricate ourselves from this mess, the next PM must remove all obstructions to oil and gas drilling, fracking and nuclear power. The grim alternative is staying firmly on a path to poverty.
And what else is in Downing Street’s bulging in-tray? Whoever succeeds Boris Johnson must get to grips with rampant inflation and escalating industrial strife. Despite record funding, the NHS is in chaos, with spiralling waiting lists and hospitals creaking at the seams. Then they must address the war in Ukraine and the Channel migrant crisis.
And crime is getting out of control. Last week an 87-year-old grandfather was stabbed to death on his mobility scooter and on Monday a schoolgirl aged nine was shot dead at home by a masked gangster.
To successfully tackle these issues and others, the Tories must show unity and competence. The incoming premier needs to be fully focused on delivering for the public – not looking over their shoulder for plotters.
For history teaches us that voters are quick to ditch parties at war with themselves.
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