THE general election due in Britain on May 6th is not the one David Cameron was chosen to fight. The opposition Conservatives made him their leader in 2005 after a barnstorming speech delivered without notes to their annual conference. His pitch: that he could persuade the electorate to trust him with public services and offer tax cuts too, by “sharing the proceeds of growth”. It was a formula worthy of an earlier young, centrist, opposition politician: Tony Blair, who in 1997 led Labour to victory after 18 years of Conservative rule.
Now there is nothing to share: taxes will have to rise and public spending fall. But still Mr Cameron is reprising Mr Blair. In 1997 Mr Blair memorably said that his priorities were “education, education, education”. In the run-up to this election, education reform is the main, perhaps the only, broad and deeply thought-out proposal from his self-styled heir.