FUBAR fighters on the campaign trail

When Rishi Sunak walked into No10 Downing Street in the wake of the Truss sh**show without even his own party voting for him, he made a big deal about carrying out the job with integrity, transparency, professionalism and accountability – basically an I’m not Boris promise.

None of those facets have been in evidence over the past couple of weeks as he lurches like Frank Spencer from one PR disaster to another.

And just when it looks like it can’t get any worse than being caught in the £2,000 Labour income tax increase lie – which is then repeated a few days later by Penny Mordaunt (whose hair seemed to get bigger like Pinocchio’s nose every time she repeated it) during another TV debate and was then repeated again on Monday by the PM to Nick Robinson on the Panorama interview – along comes the gaffe that is likely to become the defining moment of the entire conservative campaign and possibly the legacy of Sunak’s entire political career.

Leaving the commemoration for the 80th anniversary of D-Day early to attend a manifesto meeting and give a campaign interview to ITN was utterly disrespectful to all servicemen and women, but particularly to the surviving veterans of the Normandy landings.

The optics are truly horrendous and it’s another complete failure by the team responsible for organising his movements.

However, for Rishi not to have anticipated how this would be perceived, especially during an already disastrous election campaign, and put his foot down, makes him look like he’s either lacking in any respect or utterly feckless.

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Sunak’s latest pre election faux pas presented an open goal to Nigel Farage and his Reform UK party, who are appealing to disgruntled Tories who believe their leader is too centrist.

Twice in the space of a couple of hours on Monday I heard Farage’s reaction, in which he accused the PM of being “unpatriotic” and unaware of our “culture”, described on different TV channels as “a dog whistle” to the far right and I can’t think of a better way to describe how he moulded his hatred into a grubby racist attack that will trigger football hoodlums the length and breadth of the nation.

With the resurgence of the far right across Europe and the USA, it’s fitting that we remember the heroism of 80 years ago and show our gratitude and deep respect for the sacrifices made.

Well some of us anyway.

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Manifestos are released this week – The Tories on Tuesday and Labour expected on Thursday – which the major parties are claiming have been “fully costed”.

First out of the traps was the Lib Dems, trying to look serious in their intentions while leader Ed Davey was engaged in another silly stunt on a ride at Thorpe Park.

It also soon became apparent that the term “fully costed” means nothing of the sort.

The presentation of these things are always an exercise in psychology, but the Conservative launch was textbook with buzzwords flying around like a swarm of wasps, the repeating yet again of the income tax increase lie, which is straight out of the Trump philosophy of repeat a falsehood enough times and someone somewhere will believe it, and, of course, the pause after every paragraph for sycophants to enthusiastically applaud.

Yet until the promises in political manifestos are made legally binding they are not worth the paper they’re printed on.

Failure of a government to deliver on commitments they put in print that may have ultimately won your vote should be prosecuted as fraud.

Then party leaders might think more carefully about what they allow into these pointless documents.

Idiots corner:

The Chase

Q: What event did track star Derek Redmond compete in?

A: Running

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Edward Case

Columnist