What did Sajid Javid pitch himself as this afternoon? Well, the candidate of tax cuts, along with all the others apart from Rishi Sunak. But given everyone is engaged in an arms race on how big and how soon their tax cuts will be, there is largely Conservative consensus now that these are going to happen. So what does the former Health Secretary think will make him stand out from the (very big) crowd?
The central message of his campaign launch was that the Conservatives are facing an existential threat if they don't change - and that the cause of them losing the plot is sleaze and a loss of integrity. 'Over the last couple of years, our reputation on most values and policies has slid away. Too many people now believe that Labour are fit to govern. Some say Labour are more competent and even more likely to cut taxes. This isn't because they are putting their faith in Labour itself. The truth is: they've lost faith in us.'
He is one of the candidates to pledge no negative campaigning or opposition dark arts. So integrity, and experience: 'I don't think any of the other Conservative party candidates has had such broad experience in the number of departments I've ran.' The question that he still hasn't really managed to answer, though, is what has made him stand out in those departments. And on integrity, he is mired in questions about his tax status over the years, refusing to answer questions on where he held an offshore trust. Now, many Tory members might see quite a distinction between lowering your tax bill and the Boris Johnson problems of presiding over a building seething with lockdown parties or appointing someone known to behave inappropriately as deputy chief whip and then not telling the truth about that. But has Javid really stood out today, or just been part of the crowd?