Rishi Sunak leads the stand-out silly party of the silly season

Our politicians have a dilemma while parliament is on its summer break: should they save their energy for a time when voters will pay at least some attention, or try to set the agenda? The opposition, whether Conservative or Labour, often makes more effort to fill the media vacuum than the governing party. After all, oppositions can’t really do anything, but they can grab headlines.

This summer is different. The government is trying much harder than usual to make the political weather. Ahead of the six-week recess, Downing Street put strong pressure on Whitehall departments to deliver the goodies for a summer campaign – one way of ensuring any prime minister’s writ runs.

But the weather this exercise produced has often been rain – on the government’s own parade. True, ministers scored some runs when they devoted one week to announcements on energy, including Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “max out” North Sea oil and gas reserves.


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