Nigel Farage is already the leader of the Conservatives

Nigel Farage on the election campaign trail
Nigel Farage on the election campaign trail on Tuesday - Danny Lawson/PA

What bribes or blandishments is the Conservative Party offering us today, brought out and hastily dusted down from the Cabinet of Broken Promises? It really doesn’t matter. However cynical they are, Tory voters are more cynical still. The manifesto could have vowed to give every man, woman and child free pizza, a Labrador puppy, £30 billion in tax cuts, zero potholes and at least 17 illegal migrants on a flight to Rwanda in July (well, OK, July 2031) and the response would have been the same eye-roll: “Yeah, right, that’s never happening.”

We look enviously across the Channel at the French, who are somehow able to arrange a general election in three weeks without Sir Ed Davey bungee-jumping like a loon from the Eiffel Tower. Our ponderous process will take double that, and was a foregone conclusion from the start. I said the Conservatives would be lucky to save 100 seats, and have placed a bet on 80. Latest polls put Reform just a single point behind the Conservatives. Delay is only giving more time for the anti-Tory rebellion to build. My friend Nicky, a lifelong Conservative, is a prime example.

Last week, after our Prime Minister decided he had a better offer so would not be attending the climax of the commemoration of the most heroic and heartbreaking episode in our nation’s history, Nicky told her family she had made up her mind: she was voting for Reform.

“I always thought you were a bit of a racist, Mum,” said her son Jack with a wolfish grin.

Nicky was hurt, but she stood her ground. She said she couldn’t stop thinking about the young soldier whose story she had heard on the news, a boy the same age as Jack. D-Day was the first time that boy had seen the sea. For many ordinary British lads like him it was also the last time they saw the sea, a sea red with blood (“the multitudinous seas incarnadine”, Macbeth says, and that nightmarish vision came true on June 6 1944).

Is there anyone – Spreadsheet Sunak aside – who doesn’t well up thinking of the sacrifice they made for this country, hurling their young lives into the maw of one of the greatest evils the world has ever known? If we still believe in something, we believe that they died for us, so that, 80 years later, grumpy 22-year-olds (the great-grandchildren those boys would never have) can take their freedom entirely for granted, and call their mothers racist.

“I am not racist,” Nicky told her son. “I am voting for you and your friends to live in a country that doesn’t discriminate against you, that helps and supports you to make a good life. I’m voting for all the things I love about Britain that I would like to continue after I’ve gone. And a vote for Reform is the best way I can find to make my point.”

Millions feel as Nicky does – and that sense is growing, I think. Mainstream Conservatives are disgusted with a party that stole our votes on false pretences. We are no longer going to put up with being stigmatised as “far-Right” when our young adult children can’t afford a place to live or endure finger-wagging lectures by One Nation “centrists” – aka supercilious, semi-skimmed Lib Dems who make Tony Blair look like Margaret Thatcher.

The great immigration betrayal must rank as one of the most unforgivable things any political party has ever done to its supporters. It’s at the root of so many problems: housing, hospital queues, welfare benefits, crime. Having broken their promise in every Conservative manifesto since 2010 (David Cameron said numbers would come down to the “tens of thousands”), a self-soothing globalist elite set about limiting the topics it was permissible to discuss. A “bit of a dog whistle” could swiftly shut down anyone who demurred.

Now that same lofty cabal informs us that it is all our fault the Tories are heading for a historic defeat. We are the stupid, short-sighted peasants who are going to usher in a Labour government because, strangely, we refuse to vote again for the party that has kicked us in the teeth – while simultaneously flooding the country with so many people we can’t find a dentist to get those teeth fixed.

The Tory wets warn that the “dangerous demagogue” Nigel Farage lacks “nuance” and cannot grasp the “complexity” of the modern world they control. Note that they offer no explanation for failing to use an 80-seat majority to reform the NHS, which is causing thousands of avoidable deaths, or for faffing with irrelevancies like the International Baccalaureate when military veterans say our once world-class Armed Forces are now too weak to take on Turkey let alone Russia.

Oh, and these are the same strategic masterminds who told us to “stick with Rishi” when it was already clear last autumn, when I called for a new leader, that the PM had all the political nous of a mini Battenberg (my apologies to Mr Kipling, I’m sure your exceedingly good cakes would have stuck around for the world leaders’ team photo at Omaha Beach).

Where is what Angela Rayner would call the “abstract” apology (it’s “abject”, Ange, love) the British people deserve for more than two million people being added to our population during the course of the last Parliament alone, when public services were already struggling to cope?

Perhaps I am too thick to understand the “complexity” that William Hague and other Tory grandees urge on us, but I can read ONS projections which show a UK population increase of 6.6 million by 2036, of which 6.1 million will be due to immigration. Annual net migration of 315,000 (half what it is now under a fake “Conservative” government) will lead to a projected population increase of nine million people by 2046. That’s eight cities the size of Birmingham. Perhaps the Sunaks could buy a couple of islands to put them on as a parting gift?

If we continue at this rate, according to Migration Watch, the independent think tank, “a child born today to an indigenous British couple would be in a minority in the country of his or her parents by the time they reach their 40s”. Did anyone vote for that? Is anyone busy figuring out how multiculturalism is going to fare under that kind of strain? Problems with the education system or the economy can be corrected or reversed in one generation. Mistakes with immigration can endanger a culture it took a thousand years to create.

In his interview on Monday night with Nick Robinson, a rattled Sunak protested that immigration was coming down. But net migration of 500,000-plus is not sensible, centrist, One Nation Conservatism; it’s a national suicide note. And if pointing that out is far-Right, go ahead and call me Marine Le Pen.

Suella Braverman, an actual Conservative forsooth (good people of Fareham, please do vote for her), told me she was “massively alarmed” by the numbers when she was home secretary, but Rishi Sunak was “not interested”, preferring to abide by the Treasury orthodoxy that more migrants were great for the economy. “Rishi and Jeremy [Hunt] would say to me that if I wanted to cut legal migration, that would take £3 billion off GDP, which would mean they wouldn’t be able to cut taxes,” Braverman recalls.

It is that attitude – selling our birthright on the QT for short-term brownie points – and not anything that Nigel Farage has said or done which has led the Tory faithful to abandon their party in vast numbers and with huge and justifiable anger.

The Europeans, so adored by Tory Remainers, have given up saying “our poor country” and this week did something about it. Millions voted against the globalist consensus, enforced by the media, whereby anyone who steps outside the centrist position – on gender, immigration, welfare, leaving the European Convention on Human Rights – is hung out to dry as a fascist or racist. How long do you think the BBC’s affronted Katya Adler will be able to keep calling Le Pen “hard Right” when she’s had such a crushing victory across French constituencies? Are they all “fascists”, or did they simply opt to put their own people first?

I expect that, sooner or later, we will see a similar “I agree with Nigel” moment here, much to the horror of the establishment. Farage was the clear winner of Friday’s BBC Debate – coming top of a snap YouGov poll as well as being miles ahead in The Telegraph one. I agreed with virtually everything he said – on the NHS, net zero, Armed Forces and immigration – as did one former Cabinet minister who texted me ruefully: “Lots of Tories tonight will be thinking, ‘I wish he was our leader.’”

You know, I think Nigel Farage is already the leader of the Conservatives. He certainly makes a better, more convincing Tory than Rishi Sunak. The polls bear that out. According to the latest findings from strategic consultancy Redfield & Wilton, Reform is in second place (behind Labour) with voters aged 45-54 and 55-64 (that’s the age group of the Tory “base”) and is even second among 18-24s. The Conservatives are in a miserable fifth place with that younger age bracket.

It’s not hard to see why. On the same day my friend Nicky told Jack she was voting Reform, my own son went to look at a rental property for him and his girlfriend in London. The market is so crazy he had no time to lose. There were snails in the hallway and my boy’s trainers made squelchy imprints on the tropically damp staircase carpet as he ascended to the top floor. The one-bedroom attic flat was cramped and the ceiling hung low in parts as if people in hammocks were encased in the plaster. He needn’t have bothered. The agent said a previous viewer had just offered £200 over the asking price: £1,700 a month.

“Why is everything so expensive, Mum?”

“I’m sorry, my darling boy. A Conservative government I voted for has shafted your generation by allowing shocking levels of immigration.”

These are the facts. Last year, we built 171,000 houses in England and about 204,000 in Britain, well short of the Government’s target of 300,000 homes – a target that was based on the assumption that the UK has a net migration rate of 170,000 a year. That’s a figure we haven’t seen for more than a decade. Today, Britain needs to build at least 515,000 new homes each year just to keep up with the extra demand.

On Tuesday, instead of saying he would drastically increase the housing supply, which would bring prices down, Sunak announced tax breaks for landlords, which might encourage them to sell and make more houses available. What good is that for my son, for Nicky’s Jack and millions like them who will never be able to save for a deposit? They can’t afford to go out – not at nine quid a drink – so they play board games and inhabit fantasy worlds where the monsters aren’t landlords. Increasingly, as I know, those young people, running short on hope, a commodity that comes as a free gift with youth, turn to their elders and ask, “Where can we go?”

Why should they have to consider leaving this country, the green and pleasant land all those young men died for on D-Day? They were fighting the real far-Right, and their victory was for all time. Not to be squandered and sold out. So, yes, vote Reform on July 4 – or vote for any party or any individual who cares about our culture, who puts British people first, who wants our young to have hope. Whatever you do, don’t blame us for a landslide Labour victory. If we Conservative voters have found ourselves politically homeless, it’s because the Conservative Party has trashed our home.