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Editor's blog Tuesday 15 February 2011: PM Cameron's not-very-recent FT volte-face

The Guardian's Nicholas Watt has written a piece about the likelihood of Populus pollmeister Andrew Cooper becoming the new head of strategy for 10 Downing Street.

Watt's article gives, in passing, an interesting taster of PM David Cameron's political journey.

He quotes a 2003 email exchange (during the period Cameron and Chancellor George  Osborne were working at Conservative Central Office for SOS Lansley), sourced from the Francis Elliott and James Harding biography of Cameron.

Andrew Cooper emailed Cameron and Osborne on 12 May 2003 about the legislation going through Parliament to create NHS foundation trusts with devolved power and autonomy, "Unless people feel that we are sincere in wanting the best outcomes for public services and those that rely on them, we won't move forward a square inch; if we are dumb enough to emphasise that we're only saying the things we are because we think that's what people want to hear, we don't deserve to move forward a square inch.

"Once we do get people to believe we are sincere – and our values are properly aligned – we can be as robust and reformist as we like about public services (which George [Osborne] has rightly defined as a core part of the future Conservative proposition)."

Cameron replied, "I don't agree about foundation hospitals ... the bill is a complete and utter joke." In response to a refutation from Cooper, Cameron subsequently responded, "Still not sure I agree, but food for thought ..."

I'm pretty relaxed about politicians changing their minds: as John Maynard Keynes said, "when the facts change, I change my mind. And you?"

It is, nonetheless, interesting that in the totemic case of the creation of FTs, Cameron's original instincts were anti-liberationist.