- He returned from holiday and responded to the public mood by emphasising his homeland security credentials after focusing on civil libertarianism for too long;
- Built to Last Mk II was then launched – still missing appropriate commitments to lower taxation and controlled immigration – but a big improvement on the motherhood and apple pie of Mk I.
- And, then, there was an emphasis on encouraging home ownership and opposing garden grabbing (a popular policy that owes everything to the backbench industry of Greg Clark MP).
But if David Cameron has enjoyed a good few days it is Home Secretary John Reid who has fared best while Tony Blair has been holidaying. This week’s Economist is particularly positive. Describing Dr Reid’s handling of the terror plot as "highly impressive", The Economist suggests that the Home Secretary was able "to convey both calm and menace with an aura of almost super-human confidence in his own ability." The weekly magazine believes that he has become one of the most articulate exponents of Blairism – "muscular interventionism abroad and public services reformed by market disciplines at home". "What’s more," The Economist continues, "in his gravelly Lanarkshire tones, he has the ability to express essentially right-wing policies in the language of Kier Hardie (the first leader of the Labour Party, who was born in the constituency he represents). Islamist terrorists, he says, are “fascist individuals” who are determined to destroy the “biggest achievements of democratic socialism"… Tories think that his brutally populist instincts could make him a more formidable opponent than the dour chancellor."
Writing in yesterday’s Independent, however, John Rentoul believes that Gordon Brown’s position has rarely been stronger and offers two reasons. First, according to Mr Rentoul, Alan Johnson – because he’s English and laid-back – is the main threat to Gordon Brown becoming Labour leader and the Education Secretary has had a bad summer. Mr Johnson helping a constituent into a private school angered the class war left and his indifference to marriage enraged the Daily Mail right.
John Rentoul also believes that David Cameron isn’t yet strong enough to worry the Chancellor: "The Conservative leader – although he has yet to hit real turbulence – does seem to lack thrust. His plane has taken off, but it seems to be struggling to gain height."