The gap between being in opposition and government is thrown into sharp relief by the debate (squabble?) around televised election debates.
Don’t blame David Cameron for not wanting to have them. No sitting prime minister in his or her right mind would willingly choose to participate. The stakes are stacked against you from the start.
Most obviously, you are defending a record while the other participants are free to attack it.
What’s more, the prep time needed to brief a prime minister is massively greater than that needed to pick at their record.
For a leader more popular than his party, having Cameron grounded in London rehearsing how he defends his record across the board is wasted time for the Tories.
Prime ministers, even those as callow as David Cameron, appreciate that being in government is a complex business.
It’s made harder by the fact that a prime ministerial brain will be stacked full of the nuance of policy issues, making instant snappy rebuttals hard to craft on the hoof.