As long as the Tories are directing their fire at UKIP and trying to attract their core vote back, they will continue to remind everyone that they are the nasty party.
While restricting current spending, the party should promise to invest the proceeds of growth into future-facing areas like skills, childcare and infrastructure.
In its determination not to refer to the "bedroom tax", the party mistakenly claims that Labour is "opposed" to the "spare room subsidy".
Falling real wages and inflation-busting price rises mean that having a job is no longer a secure route to escaping poverty in the capital.
The coalition's reductive focus on numbers and ever-tighter restrictions will not create the fair and effective migration system that it says it wants.
"Hopefully we will get a little housing boom and everyone will be happy as property values go up," the Chancellor reportedly told the cabinet.
The news of who's up and who's down as David Cameron and Ed Miliband refresh their teams.
If Cameron was referring to an economy that takes apart the assumptions and bad habits which led to the problems of the past, that might be seen as a sign of progress.
After leaving the political sick ward, the Chancellor is again being spoken of as a possible successor to Cameron.
By refusing to accept that the market is not working for the majority, the Tories have put themselves at odds with the public.