OPINION - The Standard View: Risk for Rishi Sunak is that voters have tuned out

 (James Manning/PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA Wire)

More tax cuts — that is the message Rishi Sunak wants voters to take away as the Conservative Party launched its election manifesto today. The question is: are they still listening? Not least when the 2019 parliament saw the largest rise in the tax take of any parliament on record, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The Tories face a similar trust issue on immigration. Having failed to get its flagship Rwanda scheme off the ground, while overseeing unprecedented levels of net migration, the risk is that voters may simply have stopped listening.

If one definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, then the Conservatives have found their own niche with cuts to national insurance. But Britons are now wise to the ruse. When the overall tax burden continues to climb while the quality of public services declines, governments shouldn’t act surprised as the electorate starts to look elsewhere.

Stop the hatred

It was a typical Saturday in London. Overcast skies, packed cafes and a pro-Palestinian march. Few could argue against the necessity for a ceasefire in Gaza, where the humanitarian situation is intolerable, or for the release of hostages. Yet for too many on these marches, peaceful coexistence is not the key demand. Rather, it is the destruction of the state of Israel and the thrill of intimidating British Jews.

When protesters chant “we don’t want no Zionists here”, they are calling for the expulsion of the vast majority of Jews. When they shout to “globalise the intifada”, they are inciting violence against Jews. One speaker promised to “decolonise Judaism” — he was greeted with applause.

This is the equilibrium into which the capital has now settled. Many of London’s Jewish population, small but proud, are understandably fearful of going into the centre of their own city on march days. And perhaps their fellow Londoners have concluded that this is a small price to pay. But the path of least resistance is also the road to darkness.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which organises these protests, shows little appetite to crack down on antisemitism. Therefore, the Met Police must step up and arrest anyone who attends not to march for peace but to spread the oldest hatred.

They’ll be here for you

It is possible that you liked them more than your real friends growing up. And now, 25 years after Ross said “Rachel” at the altar in London, UK fans can try the Friends Experience — an immersive exhibition at the ExCeL including sets, backdrops and memorabilia. Millennials may not have received free university tuition or cheap housing, but this must be next best.