Richard Siddle: comment, is Cameron's minimum pricing move a double bluff?
When Steve Hilton, David Cameron's so called policy advisor, packed his man bag to head to California many thought he had taken all of the Prime Minister's big policy ideas with him.
Well think again.
It seems it has freed the canny political mind that many close to Cameron says he possesses.
Or perhaps it was the large dousing of Washington stardust on his recent trip to see President Obama, America that has suddenly given Cameron the confidence to set out political causes that appear to be against all the advice of his civil servants and ministers.
Sound familiar? Well Cameron may not be about to send us to an illegal war but his personal ambition to drive through minunum pricing of alcohol appears equally politically reckless.
It not only publicly puts him at loggerheads with his health secretaray Andrew Lansley - no change there then - but rides rough shod over political process.
When he asked members of his own cabinet to look at the government's alcohol strategy he did so with the unprecedented move by a Prime Minister of informing them any debate over a minimum price of alcohol was over. He was introducing it regardless.
At least Tony Blair allowed MPs and ministers to discuss policy ideas before making decisions for them.
Cameron's supposed determination to push through minimum alcohol pricing is also widely agreed within Whitehall to be illegal. Cameron's plans are even said to include at least a year for a legal challenge, taking any legislation into 2015 and the next general election.
So what is Cameron up to?
Well let's not forget Cameron's only real work experience outside politics was in PR. He has such a natural feel for what plays well in the papers that you wonder why he ever needed a disgraced tabloid editor like Andy Counson to help him.
He knows his call for minumum pricing will play well with the leader writers of the Daily Mail and the booze Britain-fearing blue rinses that make up his core support within the Conservative party.
But he's also a very astute politician.
When mininun pricing gets kicked out down the line, Cameron can cannily take the higher moral ground and blame the legal system for not making his "vision" possible.
Instead leaving the political and moral argument open to announce an extension to the alcohol duty escalator set to finish in 2014. Raising more vital coffers for his mate in the Treasury.
Who who needs policy gurus when you are your very own spin machine.