Not another one!

How might the run-up to the next general election look?

Artillery Row

It’s on! It is now officially less than a year until the last possible date for the general election. Whether you’re marking the moment at a party with friends, or just quietly with family at home, there’s no longer any question that the starting gun has been fired. The runners are off. There’s every cliché to play for. 

What’s your favourite moment of campaigning? The manifestos? The songs? The buses? Are you one of those people who feels it simply not an election until the first dead cat has been thrown on Radio 4?

However you feel about elections, we at The Critic are excited to bring you a sneak preview of our coverage of what’s likely to be the most exciting British general election since 2019!

Feb 12: On a hospital visit, Rishi Sunak runs into trouble after he’s filmed laughing in panic as a voter complains to him about her delayed haemorrhoid operation.

Feb 16: In the wake of the Wellingborough and Kingswood by-elections, Tory plotters once again move against Rishi Sunak. The Telegraph releases polling from YouGov that the newspaper claims shows conclusively the Conservatives would win a 200-seat majority if they were led by David Frost. 

Feb 17: YouGov’s rebuttal of the reporting of its own poll runs to 3,000 words.

Feb 20: Labour unveils its “pre-campaign” slogan: “Let’s Get Britain Back Onto The Track It Was On Before It Lost Its Way To The Future.” At the accompanying launch, Keir Starmer poses awkwardly with candidates.

March 17: On a school visit, Rishi Sunak runs into trouble when he’s filmed trying to start a discussion about oil futures trading with an eight-year-old.

March 22: In his weekly Mail column, Boris Johnson announces he is “Totally Behind The Rishster”. Filed from a private island in the Bahamas, where the former prime minister is said to be interviewing personal assistants, the piece goes on: “Fie doomsters and gloomsters, I’m confident that when it comes down to it the good old British public will, in their infinite wisdom, see right through Captain Swervesabout Hindsight Smuglaot Starmer and row in behind Good Old Rishmeister. As for me, well, as reality TV winner Harry Clark would say: ‘I’m 100% faithful!’”

March 23: Ed Davey poses with a giant blue clock, to symbolise it being time for change, or time running out, or things being different this time, or maybe just to campaign against the clocks going forward. 

March 31: Rishi Sunak runs into trouble on a campaign trip when, forgetting that he’s still wearing his microphone, he describes the voters he’s just met as “whining ingrates”. 

April 3: A massive hack of MI5 documents reveals that it recruited Nicola Sturgeon as a deep penetration agent in 1991, as part of an effort to undermine Scotland’s independence campaign. “We’ve been playing a very long game,” says a security source, smiling.

April 4: Keir Starmer poses awkwardly with police officers.

April 5: The Telegraph reports a YouGov poll which it says shows that the Conservatives would win every seat in England if Nigel Farage were party leader. 

April 6: YouGov sends cease-and-desist letter to the Telegraph.

April 9: Ed Davey poses with a huge orange forklift truck, due to something about lifting the Lib Dem vote or the country being at a fork in the road or perhaps it’s something about freight duty. 

April 10: The SNP continues to be embroiled in scandal as another 14 of its senior members are named as MI5 plants, including former finance secretary Kate Forbes. “If I’m honest,” a security source says, “we got her in for a bet.”

April 15: As the Conservatives continue to struggle in the polls, Rishi Sunak is captured in a long-lens photo eating ice cream straight from the tub on what is supposed to be his fast day. 

April 17: “HERE HE GOES: RISHI ENJOYS MASSIVE POLL SURGE” is how the Daily Mail front page reports an Opinium poll suggesting that the Conservatives have “soared” to 30% of the vote. That afternoon Opinium releases a statement confirming an “anomaly” in the figures, due to a cat walking across the keyboard of a Reform-supporting member of its voter panel.

April 19: Keir Starmer poses awkwardly with schoolchildren.

April 23: In a highly unusual intervention, MI5 makes a statement confirming Humza Yousaf’s announcement that he “is not now, and never has been, an agent of MI5”. A security source adds: “We assumed he was, to be honest, but we’ve checked twice, and he’s definitely not on our books. Now we’re trying to figure out who he is working for. The cousins say he’s not one of theirs, and the Russians got quite offended when we sounded them out.” 

April 25: Ed Davey poses with a huge blue rocket. Not even he is able to explain why.

April 26: On a campaign walkabout, Rishi Sunak runs into trouble when he tells a pensioner asking about police numbers to “just get stuffed”.

April 27: Labour unveil their latest poster. It is a huge picture of Keir Starmer. He looks awkward.

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