So, here's a funny thing.
A while ago some Tory MPs got in touch. A few of them. They were distinctly uncomfortable about the direction welfare "reform" was taking. Some had disabled family members. Contrary to popular myth, some simply cared a bit. Some were just increasingly nervous about the anguish filled sacks of misery thumping into their inboxes weekly. In many constituencies (the Tory shires are not immune, I assure you) Majority - DLA/ESA claimant rate = Political unemployment in 2015. Whether naked ambition or genuine compassion, it was getting harder and harder to dismiss me as a shrill leftie harpie when the evidence was right in front of their noses day after day.
Then there was a list of more Tory names. More good men and women, unprepared to allow evil to flourish by doing nothing.
Then the Atos debate in which every speaker - Labour, Lib AND Tory denounced the mess that is ESA and WCAs.
Then they backed off on PIP. For over 70% of cases, nothing will be done until after 2015. Rumour trickled my way that parades of "genuinely disabled" people stripped of their means of eating and heating their homes was not popular as a pre-election image. I'd add more, but my fear of breaking hard won confidences forbids it.
At the same time, we in the know who pay unhealthy attention to everything welfare, started to notice very odd behaviour from IDS himself. Well, odder, to be scrupulously accurate. Never a man fully in control of his temper or nerves, he got progressively twitchier, ever less reasonable, less rational. He lost his temper even more, (famously with Owen Jones on Question Time) lost the "Look, this is for everyone's good" appearance of sanity of 2010 and started behaving more and more irrationally. Shouting in debates, insisting figures were accurate when interviewers proved conclusively they were not, rudely laughing and chatting through committees and debates.
McVey, Hoban and even Freud The Dark Lord himself got more.... compromising. (Just typing that seemed surreal)
But on the outside, the Tories seemed MORE right wing, MORE determined the poor would pay ever greater slices of the MessleftbyLabourThatWasn'tReally. Hammond, the defence secretary, called for more welfare cuts, Osborne insisted on a further 10 billion, even Cameron wasn't above a little workhouse-rhetoric in major speeches to sound Grrrrringly rootin-tootin Tory.
So we all see a Euro obsessed, immigration befuddled, irritated, hating-everything, out-of-touch Tory party waiting with fangs bared to rip Cameron to shreds sometime around November.
But quiet little mutterings suggest this is only a minority - if a rabid and vocal one, backed by the equally rabid right wing press.. Somewhere in there is a fabled, humanised form of the Tory species and they are tying Cameron in a whole set of chains of their own. Chains to the left of him, jokers to the right.... Refusing further welfare cuts, worrying enormously about the NHS car crash playing out, utterly sick of Plan A and wondering ever more vocally how the boy with the 2:2 in History came to run the economy.
Crucially, they often hold the marginal seats. Those requiring more nuance to win. No safe Witney's and Hogwash-Under-Jam. Conservatives forced blinking into at least the fringes of the real world. In power terms, the right wingers might think they hold all the cards but Thou Shalt Not Lose Marginals is an incredibly strong political force.
Either way, I recommend popcorn and watching very carefully how this unfolds. Like the early nineties, I can only really see rifts and destruction. Cameron has killed any last vestiges of nerves the left may have about his "leadership skills" - he seems to have almost actively spent 3 years proving he has none.
Even most of the main players are the same. IDS is on the edge, the '22 committee are restless, the slightly more modern, slightly less ridiculous are nervous, UKIP are snapping at their heels. I predict by about 5th of November, we can simply light the blue touch paper and stand well clear.