Screen shot 2014-10-25 at 19.17.34Ed Miliband’s meagre ambition is to mobilise about 35 per cent of all voters – Labour’s core supporters, plus left-wing former Liberal Democrat ones.

Nigel Farage’s is even less sweeping: to scoop up the vote of the enragés.  Even in today’s fractious Britain, they are a minority.

Nick Clegg’s is less wide-ranging still.  What happens to his Party’s vote share doesn’t matter – as long as the present crop of Liberal Democrat MPs get back.

Say what you like about David Cameron’s lack of strategic consistency, his careless loss of part of the Conservative family to UKIP, and his mishandling of Tory MPs (this site has had plenty to say about all of them, and will have plenty more to say during the months ahead), his ambition and appeal are less shrivelled and more creditable – and convincing.

This week, ConservativeHome will be putting five Cabinet Ministers and their work under the microscope.  Today, John Bald examines Michael Gove’s reforming legacy at Education.  Tomorrow, I will write about Theresa May’s record at the Home Office.  Later in the week will come pieces on Iain Duncan Smith’s push to get people back to work who Labour had given up on, Chris Grayling’s plans for more effective rehabilitation for prisoners, and Francis Maude’s Whitehall reforms.

Some of these plans may fail.  Others, arguably, are mistaken (though this site is usually a supporter of them).  But all are unmistakably a serious attempt by serious people to deliver serious change.

Gove fervently believes that nothing is more likely to boost the life chances and open up the horizans of a child born into poverty than “the best that has been thought and said”.

May goes about fighting modern slavery, reforming the police and adapting stop and search on the pragmatic basis that “what matters is what works”.

Iain Duncan Smith has devoted his post-leadership career to proving that compassion in action doesn’t equal more taxpayers’ money – to which his work at the Centre for Social Justice is witness.

Maude thinks that Ministers should run Whitehall – not Sir Humphrey – and is leaving a legacy that even Labour is unlikely to trash.

Despite – or, arguably, because of – Number Ten’s unwillingness or incapacity or both to micro-manage these Conservative Ministers, they and others are offering Grown-Up Government.  Compared to them, Labour’s would-be administration is a tankful of gulping minnows.  And since Cameron has given his Ministers their heads, he can bag some of the credit.