This article appears as part of the Unspun: Scottish Politics newsletter.

The glossy brochures and pre-event hype promised a glittering spectacle, put together by a slick and professional outfit where everyone was pulling in the right direction and ready to deliver for the public. 

The reality has been somewhat different – a shambolic shadow of what was advertised, where no-one seems to know what they are doing and is either desperate to get out or trying to steal what little limelight there is.

Welcome to Rishi Sunak’s World of Woe, an attraction so dismal it’s giving Willy’s Chocolate Experience a run for its money.  

Just over a year into his Premiership, Sunak is under pressure like never before, clutching at straws as he seeks to pull out of a tailspin. But it’s been another few days to forget for Britain’s beleaguered Prime Minister. 

This week his party’s poll ratings slumped to depths previously thought unslumpable when the country was told it was time to get 'Ready for Rishi' in 2022.  

The latest survey of voters, published by YouGov on Thursday, showed Conservative support has fallen to 19 per cent, the same as the lowest share recorded by the party during Liz Truss’s brief-as-a-cabbage's shelf-life tenure as prime minister. 

The poll gave Labour a 25-point lead over the Conservatives, suggesting the Tories may face one of their greatest ever defeats at the next election.  

Some even speculated the party could be reduced to double-digit MPs, but were unable to come up with a name for whatever the opposite of ‘stonking majority’ is.

Honking minority? Time will tell whether that phrase makes the history books.  

The Tories are just not popular, it seems, with a second poll the same day finding the Tories are viewed unfavourably by 58 per cent of voters, another historic low.  

Fewer than one-in-five people view the Tories favourably, putting the party at the bottom of the barrel when all others are considered – including perennial right-wing-protest-vote-sponges Reform UK. 

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The Ipsos poll found the Prime Minister himself is unlikely to win any personality contests, to put it mildly. He was viewed unfavourably by 57% of respondents, the highest percentage he has registered in this parliament. 

Ominously, given the damage done to his party by UKIP in terms of vote share, Mr Sunak was viewed less favourably than Nigel Farage, a man currently not in politics who couldn’t get elected as an MP despite trying on seven separate occasions. 

Another ranked more favourably than the current Prime Minister was his party’s former deputy chairman Lee Anderson (48%), who recently defected from the Conservatives to Reform UK. 

Mr Anderson quit in a huff after a kerfuffle with London mayor Sadiq Khan, whom he accused of being under the control of “Islamists”.  

Lambasted on all quarters for this scurrilous attack, Anderson shuffled off to Reform saying he “wanted his country back”. 

It’s a doubt he’ll get his job back come the next General Election, but such is the predicament the Tories find themselves in, it’s not an impossibility – YouGov found Reform only four points behind the Tories on 15%, the party’s highest level of support yet. 

The Herald: Nigel Farage's Reform UK will be a thorn in the side of Rishi Sunak's Conservatives at the upcoming electionNigel Farage's Reform UK will be a thorn in the side of Rishi Sunak's Conservatives at the upcoming election
If one defection could be viewed as a misfortune, to suffer a second seems like carelessness.  

And so it came to pass this week that the Tories were rocked by another walkout to Reform, this time in the form of Manchester Mayor Candidate Dan Barker. 

Mr Barker was set to face the current mayor, Labour’s Andy Burnham, as the Conservative candidate in May. 

However, on Thursday he announced that he had followed fellow senior Tory Lee Anderson out the door. 

Mr Barker said the Tories have abandoned the north to focus on southern seats under threat from the Liberal Democrat party. 

“I think, in truth, they’ve given up on Greater Manchester and the north of England,” he said. 

“You can see that from inside the party, what they are really doing is trying to protect the blue wall in the South East and the South West because they fear that the Liberal Democrats are going to annihilate them.” 

Annihilation by the Lib Dems is not a phrase anyone expected to hear after their drubbing in 2011, but here we are.  

In times like this, Rishi Sunak is probably hoping his party will rally around. A siege mentality can bring out the best in people, and get their mettle up with their backs to the wall.  

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Unfortunately, if reports are to be believed, the party is rallying around former leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt. 

A group of Tory MPs is understood to be plotting to install Ms Mordaunt as leader before this year’s general election to prevent catastrophic losses, while surveys show she is among the most popular frontbenchers with the Tory grassroots.

Ms Mordaunt has dismissed the talk as the workings of “the Westminster rumour vortex”.  

Well, she would, wouldn’t she?