And that's what Dave's speech was. It's just words and positioning. As I've said previously, the established tradition is to take the chancellor (and shadow) and the leader (and the opposition leader) speeches as a piece. They complement each other. Though, this year, the two leading figures in the two leading parties had different priorities. John McDonnell's speech was outward facing and signalled his intent to contest Osborne's ill-deserved reputation for economic competency directly. Jeremy Corbyn's, however, defined himself and consolidated the position of the new leadership. The audience was primarily the movement and core/swing "values" voters.
Osborne's and Dave's were outward facing, they wanted the so-called centre ground which, they believe, has now been evacuated by Labour. With most of the media on side, they know they can get away with stealing New Labourish language around inclusion and social liberalism while carrying on cutting, carrying on privatising, carrying on undermining the security of everyday life. They're unaccountable and untouchable.
This is no accident. It plays to the enclosed sniffing grounds our indefatigable news hounds inhabit. Just because those bearing the brunt aren't nice middle class journalists allows one to suppose that Dave has gone all nice, that the Tories are no longer nasty, that compassionate Conservatism is back. No, all it means is the Tories are taking care to choose their victims. They're ensuring those who pay for the next five years of Tory government are those people these self-same journos will never give a shit about.