This government has been looking pretty ragged recently, but Thursday showed that it can still drive a 24-hour-news-cycle. First, there was a pre-release of the speech. Then there was the Cable criticism. All this was before lunchtime, when the PM actually delivered the speech. By teatime Mr Cameron was "hitting back" at his coalition colleague. The evening news bulletins were all about Cameron's speech, Cable's reaction, and the immigration debate. And not about the NHS.
I've no idea how joined-up with this was - whether, for instance, Cameron's office conspired with Cable's to choreograph their interventions - but, contra to the conventional view of today's events, I think today was a good day for the Coalition. First, the Prime Minister's substance-free speech dominated the day's news, sweeping away the headlines about Lansley and the nurses.
Second, and more importantly, it suggests that the Coalition may be getting the hang of something that could, if managed well, be a big advantage for them: their ability to be their own opposition. If the public comes to believe that this is a Tory-led government that is kept in check by an independently-minded partner, then the real opposition will come to seem rather redundant.