Every discussion with a Tory Minister or MP now ends up with a go through of the runners and riders for the leadership. But just as important as the personality is the policies.
One of the major problems for the Tories at the last election was that they had almost no positive offer; what did they offer a thirty something on fifty thousand a year who didn’t stand to inherit anything? Tories can’t expect young people to be capitalists, when they have no capital.
This makes the need for new ideas on the centre-right a matter of some urgency. Without them, Jeremy Corbyn—or someone very like him—will be Prime Minister at some point in the near future. So, it is striking that Policy Exchange, the think tank that was midwife to Tory modernisation, has appointed Alexander Downer, the former Australian foreign minister and current High Commissioner to London, as its new chair of trustees.
Downer is well suited to this moment. As a long serving foreign minister, he is alive to the international opportunities that Brexit opens up. But he is also a political enough animal to understand the need for a new domestic agenda for the centre-right.