David Cameron’s speech today was about preparing people for the cuts to come,
persuading them that Labour’s mismanagement of the public finances had made this ‘unavoidable’ and reassuring them that he had no ideological desire to make cuts and so would do
them in the most sensitive way possible. Cameron managed to pull this off fairly effectively. He is managing the rhetorical transition from leader of the opposition to Prime Minister fairly well.
In a way, what Cameron is doing now is the easy bit: the intellectual case for dealing with the deficit is unarguable. It is when the Coalition has to outline not broad principles but the specifics
that things will get tough. Then, people will start arguing that while cuts are necessary this cut is the wrong cut. To reprise a line from the 1980s, everyone is a wet when it comes to cuts in