IF a camel is a horse designed by committee, then Grant Shapps is what would happen if a cabinet minister was produced using the same process.

As we saw during his disastrous Sunday morning media round, Shapps is just the right level of shameless to be the spokesperson for Rishi Sunak’s new strategy of pissing voters off as much as possible before he announces the date of the next General Election.

Of course, the Prime Minister (below) wouldn’t characterise it in such a way.

His new slogan is “long-term decisions for a brighter future” – which is an odd thing for a party that has been in power for the last 14 years to promise.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (Henry Nicholls/PA)

You have to wonder how much longer voters are expected to commit to the Conservative Party before they start to see some positive results.

Though I suppose “vote for us and we promise to stop breaking things” isn’t as catchy a strapline.

This new direction from the Prime Minister puts you in mind of a boyfriend that strings his girlfriend along through her best childbearing years before concluding that the chemistry just isn’t there.

The sunlit uplands promised by the Prime Minister might be more easily imagined if his party hadn’t spent the last decade allowing a series of misfits and sociopaths to have a shot at running the country.

Anyway, back to Shapps, who was tasked with explaining this nonsense to the masses.

He defended the Prime Minister’s decision to delay net zero targets, explaining to a somewhat bemused Victoria Derbyshire that nothing had in fact changed.

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When she referenced comments he had made earlier in the year when he said that 2030 would be the end of new petrol and diesel, he told her that 2035 was always the planned date for the final phase-out.

According to Shapps, everything is ticking along nicely and as it should. You have to wonder, then, why the Prime Minister decided to hold an unexpected press conference last week to make an announcement that had, according to Shapps, already been announced.

Maybe the Prime Minister just had a look at his party’s most recent polling numbers and decided that he wants to play at being leader as much as possible before he’s inevitably chucked out, along with the rest of his mediocre colleagues.

Shapps was also asked to explain reports that Rishi Sunak is planning to scrap the northern section of the HS2 high-speed rail line next weekend.

His response? You guessed it (and you’ll be hearing a lot more of it in the months to come) – the Prime Minister is prepared to take difficult long-term decisions.

Whatever happened to the levelling-up agenda? For a while, that was the slogan of the day, and you couldn’t turn on your television without seeing a red-faced middle-aged Tory spouting it in response to every question they were asked.

At the time, the levelling-up agenda was meant to be the thing that sorted the Conservative Party’s most recent bout of social and civic destruction.

You’d always find it referenced, along with apprenticeships, as the policy proposal that was finally going to sort out that pesky inequality between the nations and regions of the UK.

But it seems when it comes to it, northerners are a low priority for the Tories for infrastructure spending and improved transport links. The only thing less shocking than this reality would be the discovery of another Boris Johnson love child.

This latest policy chaos is an interesting strategy for an unelected Prime Minister ahead of party conference.

Next weekend, the great and the gilded of the Conservative Party will gather in Manchester to pretend that everything is fine and they’re not all stuck in a project of mutually-assured destruction.

Any attack lines that his speech writers might have come up with for his big, set-piece address to conference have been neutralised by the Prime Minister’s most recent displays of ineptitude.

It would be a bit rich to point out that Keir Starmer is a flip-flopper when the Prime Minister has become such a dedicated proponent of the political U-turn.

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And any mention of the SNP’s current woes over party finances will surely be drowned out by wry laughter, as listeners across the UK think back over the past few years of Tory cronyism, dodgy-dealings and outright political dysfunction.

That’s not to say that the Conservative Party conference won’t be worth watching. We are beginning to see the first real signs of how the next General Election will shape up. From everything that the Prime Minister has said and done in recent weeks, it seems he will pitch himself as the man who is prepared to be unpopular for the good of the country.

The main flaw in that plan is that it is his party that has brought the UK to its knees. And he’s already unpopular enough, even outside of desperate policy announcements that appeal to the people who live in the comments section of the Daily Mail online.