Here in Manchester, Michael Gove, the shadow education minister, is rounding off a “schools and sports” session with a populist speech on education.
Gove is the most articulate Tory frontbencher after David Cameron. His message is delivered in a clear and crisp, if slightly pompous, style.
But there is less substance than style in what he says: the need for “blazer and tie” and ridding schools of “faddish ideologies”. He repeatedly attacks that old Tory nemesis — “political correctness” — as did the shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. Hunt appeared to embarrass Dame Kelly Holmes before Gove’s speech by launching a partisan attack on Labour in the passage containing praise for Holmes.
Being in Manchester reminds you what the Tory party is like. And as power appears to beckon they are reverting to type.