- governments have their hands on the biggest levers
- a government strategist with a bit of creativity can always drive the agenda
So now we see another serious power play, and it's well up in the creativity stakes (relative to the usual nonsense) - Devo-Manc and, in particular, the NHS-devo aspect dropped onto the unsuspecting Labour Party yesterday by Osborne. Yes, he couldn't resist dropping this bombshell himself.
And yes, Labour has been comprehensively wrong-footed. Oh how they hate devolution! So now they must spend a week (out of the ten weeks remaining) cobbling together a response, which won't be easy because the Mancs (almost entirely Labour) are in favour. (Hell, Andy Burnham - panicky and instinctively against it - is a north-west MP.) And Tessa Jowell likes the sound of it for London. And every regional newspaper will be majoring on it for weeks to come - even if the Gruaniad relegated what the New Statesman called the biggest story of the day to a sub-page on its labyrinthine website (oh how the lefties hate devolution).
We may confidently assume this initiative is part of a rolling barrage. It wouldn't be difficult to bundle Mili off the field with the devo-bombardment alone, for which there is plenty more ammunition still to be fired: but I'm guessing that another flank will be opened up soon, to reinforce his lethal disequilibrium.
This is gearing up to be one of the great election campaigns. It's not before time and I'm loving every minute. There's no such thing as an election to lose.