So, now they don't even believe in tax cuts...
"I believe in tax cuts, grammar schools and big business. Mr Cameron, am I still a Conservative?"
So asked one Tory MP at a private meeting in the Commons last week.
Last night in a fascinating interview Rupert Murdoch made the same point in public. "If you believe everything he says," the media tycoon said, "there's not going to be an alternative between him and a New Labour government", before going on to warn of the danger that the Conservatives could end up as a "cheap imitation" of New Labour.
Today the shadow chancellor George Osborne deliberately echoed Gordon Brown's pledge to always put "economic stability" before tax cuts.
So why are the Cameroonians ignoring the squeals of their natural supporters? Because, quite simply, they believe they need, in PR jargon, "permission to be heard" from the millions who are NOT their natural supporters and don't listen because of what they assume the Tories believe in.
Because they think it's absurd to suffer for policies they either don't really believe in - cutting taxes even when the country's borrowing heavily - or policies that they'll never actually carry out - creating more grammar schools or replacing the NHS with an insurance-based system. See David Cameron's article in the Telegraph for an explanation. This is and was the "heir to Blair" strategy which Cameron blurted out in private and then denied having said.
Given it worked for Blair why not for Cameron?
It might, but - and it's a big but - the difference is that the Left was intellectually exhausted after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Thatcher's victories in the industrial struggle. The Right on the other hand is intellectually vibrant still and believes that it's now winning the arguments as a high-spending, high-taxing government, which believes in simply running the public services better rather than revolutionising them, begins to struggle.
If Cameron appears to be turning his face against ideas then the coalition of right-wing Tory MPs, Murdoch, the Telegraph and co could all still yet halt the Cameron bandwagon.
The Cameroonians' reply to this is that Margaret Thatcher did not pledge to cut taxes in her 1979 manifesto. She focussed instead on tax and union reforms.
The tightrope Cameron is walking is to reassure the Right whilst not infuriating the centre when, if, they think he was only trying to look centre-ish rather than actually be it.