The Conservatives are more focused on winning back traditional supporters than attracting new ones.
George Osborne and his ministers once mocked the opposition for the goal they now boast of achieving.
The shadow chancellor remembers that it was fear of "Tory cuts" that handed Labour victory in 2001 and 2005, and denied the Conservatives a majority in 2010.
The Chancellor can no longer declare that the UK is the fastest growing major economy.
By insisting that a surplus of £23bn is necessary to reduce the national debt, the Chancellor has exposed himself to the charge that he is an ideologue.
The party has denied Osborne the chance to brand it irresponsible while also maintaining clear dividing lines on future cuts.
There is no sign of the updated Charter for Budget Responsibility that the Chancellor promised would be published by now.
The problem the Chancellor now faces is that, after almost five years of emphasising the need for tough choices, the public is inclined to think the work of austerity is done. It is not.
Having already trimmed Whitehall of fat, the next government will be forced to cut into bone. But no party will utter this truth.
Plan to fund extra £2bn a year through future underspends means spending promise is "a con", says shadow chancellor.