David Cameron will retreat on his proposals for green taxes, according to a report in today's Times.
Cameron's taxes on flights were widely criticised at the time, for being both too tough and for not being tough enough. However, along with his miniature wind-turbine, and huskie-driving photo shoots, this policy helped establish Cameron as a new kind of Conservative.
But now in the face of the resurgent, right-wing of the party, this landmark policy looks set to be buried. The document acknowledges that the public had perceived it:
"to involve higher costs, more tax or some form of consumer sacrifice."
When Cameron initially proposed this tax he followed it with the caveat that any flight taxes would be offset by tax cuts elsewhere. It seemed to me at the time that no shift in consumer behavior could actually occur if the overall level of taxation remained the same. The proposals appeared to be a gesture and a modest one at that. So it is a sign of the real shift in Tory priorities, that even proposals as weak as these are now seen as unpalatable.
So as each week now goes by we see a gradual but very real re-branding of brand Cameron. On the way out is the Blair-lite ready to take on his party over unpopular policies, and on its way in is the all improved Nu-Major, back to basics but with a PR sheen.
From tax-breaks for married couples, to reductions in the age for abortions, we see the new Cameron brand alive and well. Not frightened to give in over Conway, not fearful to give in over Grammar schools, not terrified to give in over our environment. This is the new Conservatives. At their best when they're boldest. At their best when they're Tories.