Copyright: Writers

Manifestos provide the backbone of the incoming government’s mission, at least in theory. They set a tone, a framework and dividing lines even with political opponents.

And this is a manifesto in Rishi Shankar’s picture.

Deliverable, practical, thoughtful, its allies argue.

Insufficiently bold, engaging, game-changing, its conservative critics whisper, when a game-changer is desperately needed, if at all possible.

“Anyone doubt any of this will make a bit of difference,” a senior Tory texted me.

Now there is an undercurrent of public rhetoric from the Conservatives – matching their private musings – that acknowledges the possibility, the possibility of defeat.

A structure that admits of maximizing Conservative support may be about minimizing Labor wins, not preventing them.

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