The consensus view amongst the commentators - who, of course, bear little if any relation to, you know, actual people who vote - is that Cameron has worked wonders in changing the image of the Tory Party, but has of course got nowhere with policy. You can almost hear the snigger. Image is easy - especially with a highly paid PR man, who just happens to be an old Eton mate, at your side (step forward Steve Hilton). But policy....well, that's a whole new ball game.
In fact, it isn't true that Mr. Cameron has been entirely policy lite. He couldn't change the image of the Tory party without dealing with its recent ideological heritage, much of which he has felt compelled to dump. BBC Online's Nick Assinder admitted as much in his article:
" So he is for the environment, bicycles, windmills and internet blogs. He supports the NHS, the poorest in society, minorities of all sorts and even misunderstood hoodies.
He is not any longer for tax cuts before public spending, "privatisation" of the health service, or offering vouchers for education, for example.
And he is a liberal, not neo-Conservative who may look as much to the Guardian's Polly Toynbee for advice on welfare as to Winston Churchill."
Although to be fair on that last point, Cameron did distance himself from la Toynbee in his Sunday Telegraph interview at the weekend. He's just interested in her one interesting metaphor, he suggested.
The real problem for the Tory leader lies in the polls. After an initial surge when he first became leader, his poll ratings have been frustratingly static. He has yet, it seems, to make a big impression on the public in terms of their determination to vote for him. I suspect the polls tell only part of the story. It has been enough so far for Cameron not, at any rate, to be hated, and to change the impression everyone has of Tories. Armed with the clear, 'gritty' policies he says he will have (see this BBC article) and put him up against the dour Scot, and he starts to look much more electable. And it may be anecdotal, but I'm losing count of the number of apolitical acquaintances who say they will probably vote Tory next time....after three elections at the shrine of Mr. Blair!