oneill124_Ian ForsythGetty Images_sunak Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Ending the UK’s Permanent Silly Season

After years in the political wilderness, the UK Labour Party is now far ahead in opinion polls, with sensible plans for improving the country's economic performance. But to translate promises into results, any future government will have to do something about the elephant in the room: chronic under-investment.

LONDON – It is the season of political parties’ annual conferences in the United Kingdom. While much of the attention will be on the governing Tories, many also will be closely watching the Labour Party, now that it is significantly ahead in the polls.

In the weeks leading up to the Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seems to have shifted his personal strategy. Rather than presenting himself as a competent, safe, unambitious pair of hands, he is making a show of bold promises to tackle the country’s biggest challenges. But is he serious, or is this mere political theater timed for the election?

Sunak, after all, presides over a party that is riddled with factions – many of them ideologically committed, and all of them scarred by the infighting of the past 13 years. Moreover, the party’s current MPs were elected in 2019 by a strange mix of traditional Tory constituencies and newer Brexit-oriented voters who previously voted Labour. Both cohorts rather like government spending when it is directed toward them, provided that their own tax bills don’t go up.

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