IN their death throes, the Tories are channeling two types of Lear. First, there’s Shakespeare’s mad king, lashing out in every direction, pulling the country down around his ears, paving a path to nothing but his own rotten, miserable, deserved end.

Yet, their abysmal final act also evokes Edward Lear’s nonsense poetry. In Lear’s verse, the world is back to front. Idiots go sailing in sieves, fools use paper as welly boots. What could be more absurd than a party which rails against elites, yet has a leader as rich as Midas? The only difference between Midas and Rishi Sunak is that everything the Prime Minister touches turns a filthy shade of brown, not gold.

The Conservatives are currently engaged in what we’re all pretending is a normal party conference. It’s more a monstrous circus that’s rolled into Manchester.

The fate of the Tories is almost too perfect. This is the party which presided over Britain’s ruination, reduced our country to an international laughing stock and pariah, and turned the people against each other.

Read more: Douglas Ross has turned the Scottish Tories into the DUP

And what are the Tories now? A ruined, international laughing stock and pariah that’s turned on itself.

The party writes its own suicide note; wilfully sending itself into the wilderness for an entire generation.

Sunak claims he knows just what voters want: we want change, he says. The deposits of irony in that statement can be richly mined. His idea of change is to shred his own party’s 2019 manifesto. He’s effectively telling us that the change we want is a change away from what his party has done for years. Damn right, Rishi.

He stands in opposition to himself, in opposition to the party he leads, yet he does so as a man not elected by the British people as PM, and so is without any manifesto of his own. Absurdity piles upon absurdity.

He even dares make the case for change in Manchester, the city likely to never see the benefits of HS2. His idea of change is to murder the only good policy Conservatives ever had: levelling up.

The party which tells us how great Britain is, has done everything in its power to shame this country globally. Sunak’s assault on net zero and Suella Braverman’s contemptible scapegoating of migrants and refugees garnered sheaves of international opprobrium. From Brexit onward, Conservatives have tarnished us all with hateful and stupid policies designed solely to benefit their rich donors and themselves.

The abject moral void that’s modern Conservatism is fully on display in Manchester. While Mr Sunak feigns unity, his closest lieutenants jockey for the crown. They know the game’s up and so all that matters is scrambling over each other in a race to become king or queen of this tumbledown castle. They make rats on sinking ships appear noble.

Braverman is burnishing her credentials as the candidate to take the party to hell as its next leader, sounding off about elites attacking her frankly-despicable anti-refugee rhetoric. Beware when you hear anyone raving about elites. Sure as sun-up, they’ll be part of the elite themselves. The notion of Conservative ministers calling anyone elitist turns the gas on gaslighting all the way to 11.

Read more: What's the point of the moral vacuum that is Douglas Ross?

Kemi Badenoch, Priti Patel and James Cleverly seem also manoeuvring to be the next captain of the Titanic. Patel even had the cheek to say she was disappointed to see leadership candidates jockey for position whilst refusing to rule out a bid of her own. They’re laughing straight in our faces now; they’re laughing in each other’s faces.

Some have enough sense to speak the truth, however. Iceland boss Richard Walker quit saying Conservatives were “out of touch with the needs of business”. He even mocked the word "Conservative", saying he’d “struggle to name a single thing they’re actually conserving”.

Rwanda’s high commissioner was secretly filmed savaging Braverman’s refugee policies. Patel praises GB News, a channel that’s disgraced Britain even more than her party. The entire edifice falls.

Sunak will present historians the challenge of finding ways to describe a PM actually worse than Boris Johnson. They’ll have exhausted the thesaurus of the future with withering adjectives for Johnson and Truss and have to invent neologistic put-downs for Sunak.

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His agenda is so pitiful. After trashing net zero, he tells us we’re “a nation of car drivers” and he’ll stand up for us. What does that even mean? "A nation of car drivers." We’re a nation of many things: underpaid carers, exhausted public servants, hopeless kids. Sunak symbolises nothing but some cheap appeal to a Life on Mars notion of what it means to be a British citizen. But then Tories always thought that only losers take the bus.

John Major’s "Cones Hotline" policy seems the very zenith of government when set against Sunak’s agenda.

His Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, offers only a grim retread of that Conservative standard "bash the poor". He’s planning a crackdown on benefits. What else can he do to the poor in a nation where there are more food banks than McDonald’s? The House of Commons library notes we’ve around 2,500 food banks. There are 1300 McDonald’s in Britain.

Read more: SNP war, Tory mayhem, GB News disgraced... Starmer smiles in Scotland

The idea of slashing inheritance tax seems the Tories’ latest "big plan". Inheritance tax affects less than 4% of us. Many voters wrongly believe they’ll be forced to pay inheritance tax, but in Tory Britain most of us are just too poor. Inheritance tax applies to estates worth more than £325,000. It’s another Sunak mirage. Remember this man recently claimed he was scrapping proposals which don’t even exist, like plans for "how many people you can have in your car".

Meanwhile, wealth simply accumulates more wealth in Britain. The Institute of Fiscal studies says that over the last generation wealth as a proportion of GDP has effectively doubled, while tax revenue from wealth remained the same. If inheritance tax was abolished, the IFS says, nearly half of those who’d benefit would have estates worth £2.1m - in other words the top 1%. For the wealthiest, it’s a tax cut of £1.1m.

So who’s being helped? That phoney Tory "enemy", the elites. That’s all Conservatives have left: damn lies and feathering their own beds. They’re burning the house down before they go.