The next election is going to be a clash of ideological visions. There is now clear blue water between the Tories and Labour.
Last week, Miliband set out his view of ‘one nation’. Its power came from its authenticity but it was also a distinctly left-wing vision of the world. Today, Cameron responded with one of the most Tory speeches I’ve ever heard him make.
Too often, Cameron has tried to portray himself simply as a competent steward of national affairs, shying away from ideological definition. But this speech was different. It had a central argument, about the need for Britain to become more competitive. His answer was right-wing: boost enterprise, improve schools and deal with an unaffordable welfare system.
Downing Street’s challenge now is to have the discipline to stick with this message. It must resist the temptation to start flirting with other arguments or to fall back into the complacency that has too often characterised Cameron’s leadership.