Cameron had a “long-term economic plan”. Yesterday, Sunak spoke of “long-term decisions” – the opening shot in his campaign to frame the next election as Change v Sir Keir Starmer.
In one sense, the timing of Sunak’s change of gear is good, in the sense that it’s never wrong to make the right argument. In another, it’s terrible, because he’s doing so very late in the day.
The logic of the choice remains as Ken Clarke put it – Rwanda or nothing. Sir Keir has swallowed much in his pursuit of power, but Rwanda is a mouthful too much for him, or at least for his party. So he’s trying to bluff his way out of the problem.
Both her friends and foes miss a main point of her premiership – that if governments don’t reduce spending when they cut tax, they risk spooking the markets. And crashing.
The joint One Nation Caucus and Tory Reform Group conference last weekend, following the recent National Conservative Conference, are pointers to the shape of a possible future.
Considered alongside Lord Ashcroft’s recent research, Public First’s findings suggest that the challenge, while certainly difficult, is a long way from hopeless.
The decision involves children, parents, schools and doctors, and has implications for rights, mental health, responsibilities and culture – as well as the management of a restive parliamentary party.
He may have less than a year, as Parliament returns and his Party’s conference looms, to persuade voters of his case – which he has scarcely even begun to make.
The pressure on Grant Shapps from Conservative backbenchers will push him one way only: I’ve never heard of one who wanted less spent on defence. The new Energy Secretary is in a more testing position.
Today’s changes are expected to be small-scale with a bigger shuffle taking place before the King’s Speech in early November.
Maybe the future isn’t Leavers v Remainers, or even Conservative v Labour. Perhaps its truth v post-truth – Rowling v Dorries. I’m with Rowling. You?
If Sunak doesn’t commit the Conservatives to leaving, and then somehow wins the next election, the next Leader of the Opposition will take up the cause.
The Prime Minister is vulnerable to claims of “getting in on the story” even when he’s displaying strategic purpose. There are signs that he recognises this but time is short.