Our pocket-sized PM stood up at the sawn-off lectern and said: “Let me explain why I’m standing here.” His premiership had begun with an impossible ambition. And was it wise to start with the chronicles of destruction of which he is the culmination?
Cries of “Tories Out!” and a heavy metal soundtrack of, I thought, Black Sabbath drowned out much of the explanation.
The audible fragments of what he said may mean something – “compassion” may indicate he isn’t going to cut benefits. “Mistakes” may mean that he had been right about everything and “competence” meant, “I’m going to fire Jacob Rees-Mogg.”
One thing he might work on in his 25-minute honeymoon is his delivery. If he wants to “carry the country through the storm” he’ll need coaching. The voice has a rising, pleading, keening quality that sounds dangerously like Ed Miliband. Admittedly Ed has been the most influential politician of this century but a Conservative leader wouldn’t want to be second in that particular race.
The other impression left by his manner is of an attitude that comes not from great wealth but from an elite education. He is a Wykehamist and clever even by the standards of Winchester. All very clever Wykehamists look around their colleagues and can’t suppress the word “morons!”
How this will play out as a unifying force in the Conservative party remains to be seen.
For the moment we are now entering a period of stability. This is likely to last until PMQs tomorrow when normal service is expected to resume.