At long last they’re showing a bit of ankle. Maybe a lot more besides. After what feels like a lifetime of not saying much, let alone doing anything, both the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader are laying out battle lines. Which begs the question, as our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, whether they’re emboldened – or panicked.
‘If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.’
Macbeth’s take on when to commit regicide finds an echo in Rishi Sunak’s shuddering U-turn on the green agenda.
Likewise Sir Kier Starmer’s every bit as bold/foolish (delete where appropriate) new approach to Brexit.
Sensing the upping of stakes, the Lib Dems are getting uppity too.
They’ve been dropping hints aplenty that if the election’s inconclusive they’ll only help Starmer if he promises a new way of voting.
The existing system tends to squeeze them out. Which is why they want change. And the big parties don’t. Obvs.
Not that that came to anything when they hooked up with David Cameron’s Tories. Better luck this time? You never know.
One thing is for sure, however. The Conservatives’ narrow win in the Uxbridge by-election to replace Boris Johnson really got them thinking.
They’d almost certainly have lost but for the punters’ anger at the extension to their manor of the crackdown on polluting cars.
Ergo Sunak’s new look at the climate crisis? As night follows day? Chris Hopkins from the pollster Savanta has been reading the runes.
Seeing as his outfit’s just recorded Labour biggest lead this year, he says it doesn’t take a lot of working out:
‘Sunak’s shift away from green policies feels a desperate attempt to claw back votes, and this latest polling shows that he is in dire need of a boost.’
Not that it’s exactly turned out that way.
The PM insists his plan to delay the bans on new petrol vehicles and gas boilers is designed to head off ‘unacceptable costs’ for voters.
But it turns out his new approach is just as unacceptable to a lot of his own MPs.
And the serious dysfunctionality of the Tory tribe is writ large in the following two statements.
First this from the Home Secretary, darling of the right: ‘We’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people.’
Then this, contrasting, perspective from Tory MP Karl McCartney: ‘The wets in the Conservative Party are wetting themselves.’
So are a fair few folk sur the continong. Senior German MEP Michael Bloss fumed: ‘Rishi Sunak is becoming the leader of the fossil backlash.
‘He is making the UK a climate villain. And destroying its international reputation as a climate leader.’
Worth mentioning at this stage two not very nice things happening to the planet just now.
The sea ice surrounding Antarctica is at its lowest September level since records began. Which, according to scientists, is ‘almost mind-blowing’.
Professor Martin Siegert of Exeter Uni fears it could portend: ‘An absolute disaster for the world.’
Oh and btw, it was confirmed last week that this summer’s seen the hottest three-month period on record, by a significant margin.
So, concluded the UN’s Secretary General António Guterres: ‘Climate breakdown has begun.’
HRH Charlie Boy also feels strongly about saving the planet, as he made very clear when he was doing his king thing in Paris last week.
Addressing the French Senate, a first for a British monarch, incidentally, he described climate change as: ‘Our most existential challenge.’
He also did a real cross-channel kiss-and-make-up job, after years of frosty relations following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Malgré tout, he insisted, the UK: ‘Will always be one of France’s closest allies and best friends.’
Didn’t go so far as to say the Norman invasion was a Good thing, but didn’t fall far short of it.
Anyway, both those things might have left Sunak feeling a spot of solidarity with Macbeth. Maybe regicide would be a Good thing.
That’s because the royal green talk did rather clash with the government’s not quite so green-tinted mood music.
Also the entente très très cordiale stuff dovetailed neatly with Starmer’s stepping where for years Remain angels have feared to tread.
Ever since the Brexit referendum, and the psychodrama that went with it, neither Labour nor the Tories wanted to touch the topic with a bargepole.
But opinion polls now point to masses of voter remorse, clearly suggesting that a rerun referendum would go the other way.
Also, the damage to the British economy is significant and incontrovertible, and as yet not offset by the new trade deals Johnson so blithely promised.
Thus far Starmer’s been insisting there’s no question of Britain either trying to rejoin the bloc itself or its shared market.
But there’s an old hack’s saying about politics: ‘Nothing is ever true until it’s officially denied.’
And, while Labour’s made progress wooing so-called ‘red wall’ voters who switched to the Tories last time round, they were very Brexit-minded.
We’re talking forty-five constituencies here. Which is why Starmer’s wary of saying too much this side of the election.
But his carefully chosen words about closer links with Europe, on trade and a range of other fronts, have already got right wing papers frothing at the mouth.
Indeed, the next contest could well be about just that. Especially if Labour ends up in bed with the ultra-Remainy Lib Dems.
What’s more, last week’s surprise fall in inflation may well boost Tory support, and thus make a Lib-Lab pact more likely.
So, although halving price rises is a key Sunak objective, he could be thinking being PM is a bit of a dog’s life.
Then again, things could be worse on the pooch patch.
It’s very clear, notwithstanding the bad press the American XL Bully breed’s been attracting lately, where British sympathies continue to lie.
After a fatal sheep attack near Moffat in Scotland four apparently wild dogs were shot. But six other members of the pack were taken to a rescue centre.
No surprise they were a bit feral, as it’s thought they were abandoned as puppies by illegal breeders.
But, thanks to the TLC they’re getting, they’re fast becoming happy and friendly. And hopes are high that permanent homes can be found for them.
In the meantime, well-wishing folk have raised thousands of pounds to help with their care. The team’s said to be ‘overwhelmed’ by their generosity.
A pretty cool thing’s also happened to a puppy abandoned in a Thailand jungle.
After he was saved by a local sanctuary, his rescuer Niall Harbison took to social media to find him a new home.
But an application from UK, from someone claiming to be Liam Gallagher, struck him as a wind-up. Especially as the bloke said he was a singer.
In the event, it really was the former Oasis frontman, who explained he and his partner had cats, and now really wanted a dog.
Well, they got him. And there’s a video on Twitter/now X of them playing with him, to the tune of the Oasis hit Stand By Me.
That was put together by Mr Harbison, who says the dear little animal really has ‘hit the jackpot’.
A dog’s life? It’s only rock’n’roll.
Watch Peter’s report HERE
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his fascinating musings on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.