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Labour was fighting fit for an election, but some fear a nasty shock once in power | Rafael Behr

A party drilled to say ‘if’, not ‘when’ will suddenly have to change gears – and reconcile two vastly different modes of Starmerism

For anyone who has ever suffered from impostor syndrome, Rishi Sunak’s election campaign is a kind of therapy. No matter how underqualified you might feel for a task, there is no prospect of exposure as brutal as that now inflicted on the prime minister.

He looks shaken, but will no doubt recover his composure soon enough. Sunak will arrive at the conclusion reached by Liz Truss and Boris Johnson before him: that the only failure was of other people’s loyalty and nerve. Taking responsibility for defeat is alien to the Conservative culture of automatic right to rule. It runs deep, insulating a leader’s ego from evidence of their inadequacy.

Rafael Behr is a Guardian columnist

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