NEVER has a Westminster election been so devoid of enthusiasm.

Keir Starmer is set to become next prime minister – with a colossal majority – for one reason alone: The Tories have destroyed themselves.

As pollsters note, he will become the most unpopular Leader of the Opposition to become prime minister.

Indeed, any of the disasters associated with this particularly malign stretch of Tory rule – easily the worst set of governments in British democratic history – would have been enough to sink an administration.

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Violating the rules they set themselves during the worst public health disaster for a century – while ordinary citizens couldn’t comfort dying relatives in their final moments. Boris Johnson’s multiple lies and scandals. Liz Truss blowing up the economy with hard-right economic policies most Britons are bitterly opposed to. The worst cost of living crisis in recorded history, leaving the average citizen poorer than when they first came to power 14 years ago. England’s disintegrating NHS. An epic housing crisis. Neverending corruption. Three prime ministers in a single parliamentary term.

As for Rishi Sunak – well, the most able political operator would have struggled in such circumstances, and no prime minister has ever been so overpromoted than he, leaving him with personal ratings lodged between salmonella and the bubonic plague. Why Sunak voluntarily decided to go to the electorate when the polls are so clear that the Tories will be incinerated to a toast, I will leave to the cod psychologists. The Tories deserve the annihilation they will get.

Here’s why this disintegrating cabal deserves the tagline of the “worst government in British democratic history”. It’s not just that they fail on terms set by the likes of myself, who you would expect to viscerally oppose all the Tories do. It’s that they have failed on their own terms.

The National:

Thatcherism could point to an abundance of what it considered to be triumphs – like privatisation, slashing taxes on the rich, smashing unions, surrendering the economy to market forces, flagging off council housing. I think these policies were calamitous for the country, sure – my word do we now pay the price! – but Thatcherite true believers could be delighted with transforming society in their own image. What can this crew point to as a grand triumph? Brexit? A large majority of Britons believe it a failure according to the polls, including Leave voters themselves.

You would expect, then, the voters to see a Labour government – any Labour government – as utopian by comparison. But according to YouGov, when asked “which party do you think best represents ‘change’?”, 10% opt for the Tories – truly, the most delusional people in Britain – while 34% opt for Labour, and 43% go for the country’s real believed party, named “neither”.

Strikingly, over a quarter of Labour’s own voters say neither, with another 6% going for don’t know, meaning a third failed to endorse Labour as a party of change. It’s worth digesting that for a moment: The Tories have been in power for 14 years, they’ve almost universally despised – and millions of Labour voters don’t think the opposition party represents change.

Well, it’ll be these Labour voters who are proven right. Starmer tossed his key leadership pledges on a bonfire – from public ownership to taxing the rich, abolishing English tuition fees to a human rights based foreign policy. When he later offered a £28bn-a-year green investment fund as his flagship policy, he then junked it. He watered down Labour’s package on workers’ rights. They’ve committed to keep the Tories’ fiscal rule.

In layman’s terms, that means continued austerity. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, that means both parties will either have to commit to tax cuts or spending cuts – Starmer could not have been a luckier general. Sunak’s decision to self-detonate in July comes just as the SNP have been engulfed in their worst crisis since they assumed Scotland’s highest office. Labour will make inroads in Scotland just as it likely sweeps the board everywhere else.

So expect a wave of triumphalism for Starmer’s cheerleaders when the Tories are finally booted out. Who can begrudge them for that – I’d do the same if I were them – and I’ll cheer every Tory MP who gets the unceremonious boot they deserve on election night.

But they will win only because the Tories have self-combusted, and they know it. Alas, the Starmerites will try and shout down any scrutiny of Labour’s plans from the left, claiming it will risk the Tories sneaking back in. They know this is simply not possible.

If we fail to scrutinise a government when voters have leverage, and they are handed a colossal majority for half a decade which protects them from public pressure, that will be a huge democratic failure. The repeatedly expressed authoritarian tendencies of Starmerism should frighten us, too. As they form a new government with precious little enthusiasm, expect disillusionment to kick in quickly. The question will be – who benefits from that?

The far right are always circling like vultures – look to Europe and the US if you want an example of that. That’s why I’m backing We Deserve Better, to back Green and independent candidates in England who back the progressive policies we need. But like Ukip, then the Brexit Party, surged only when the Tories won office, expect the left to do the same under Starmer – but only if we defy our longstanding tendency to turn on each other.