There are still ten full days of campaigning to go, yet virtually everyone on the right has given up hope of anything that will dent Labour’s seemingly impregnable likely majority. So naturally the papers are full of articles about what happens to the Tories in the aftermath of a bruising, and in all probability a catastrophic defeat.

One thing is for sure, I can’t imagine Rishi Sunak wanting to remain leader or being allowed to. Much then depends on the size of the Conservative parliamentary party, and who is left to rescue the party from the ruins. If what I am hearing is right, CCHQ has more or less given up the ghost. I have heard of three candidates in Tory held seats with majorities of between four and six thousand, who have been ordered to shut down their campaigns and redeploy themselves to help cabinet ministers with majorities in excess of 20,000. And if they refuse, their computer logins to the party systems are cancelled and they’re told they won’t remain on the candidates list after the election.

So, a lot depends on who is left to pick up the pieces after the election, and at least one selfstyled leadership candidate is spending the campaign away from their own constituency offering to help other candidates who are likely to survive Starmergeddon.

A new leader will need to revitalise the policy offering, be popular with the public and be good with the media. There aren’t many Tory MPs that tick all three of those boxes, and one or two that do, may well not be around after 4 July.

One person who will not lead the Conservative party is Nigel Farage, even if he does win Clacton. It is true that many of his views and opinions fit in with a section of the Conservative party, and the party needs to be a broad coalition. He will claim he is a Conservative, which indeed he was in the 1980s until he resigned over Black Wednesday in 1992. But since then, he has made a career out of trying to destroy the party. Of course, there will always be a temptation to appease Farage and those who say that Reform is a ‘proper’ conservative party. He’s certainly not to be underestimated. But you can’t out-Farage Farage. And if you even attempt it, you lose far more people on the one nation wing of the party.

The Conservative Party has been written off many times before but it has always bounded back. Look at 1906, 1945 and 1997. This election may result in fewer Conservative seats than in any of those, if these new fangled MRP polls are to be believed. But are they? The last three predict seat totals of 53, 108 and 150. Given that, I wonder whether we’re all being led on a merry dance. That doesn’t mean I believe there will be anything other a terrible defeat.

The blame game has already started. However, it is far too simple to just blame Rishi Sunak for getting the date of the election so disastrously wrong, You can’t also just blame Isaac Levido for his terrible campaigning tactics, but it is certainly true that he is no Lynton Crosby. But then again, few are.

One thing is for sure, if the Tory Party is reduced to a rump, it does not need a leadership contest featuring ten or a dozen candidates. Self-knowledge is a wonderful thing. There are one or two candidates touting their wares, subtlely of course, that really ought to realise they don’t stand a cat in hell’s chance.

In addition, there are a couple of the people being mentioned who some pundits believe will struggle to retain their seats, despite half decent majorities. Grant Shapps and Penny Mordaunt fall into that category.

James Cleverly is said not to be keen to run, although I sense that could change.

Two contenders who ought to be safe from the claws of the electorate are Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, but there may also be one or two surprise entrants to the race, including Victoria Atkins, Claire Coutinho. Suella Braverman’s support is said to have evaporated and Robert Jenrick’s journey from Cameroon to the hammer of the immigrant is not convincing very many. Quite a lot of people are suggesting that Priti Patel might be a compromise candidate. Stranger things have happened.

Rushing any leadership content would not be wise. It might be best to appoint a temporary ‘Harriet Harman-style’ leader. No one will want to hear from the Tory Party for a very long time. The Starmer honeymoon may not last as long as Blair’s did, but there will be one.  It makes little difference if the Tory Party hasn’t got a new leader at the party conference, or at Christmas. So my advice to them is this. Take your time.