"The problem for Cameron is this: there are much more important decisions coming up over the course of the next 12 months, and this week’s grammar school row simply opens the question whether he has the strength to push them through.
In December, Iain Duncan Smith’s Social Justice Commission is due to bring to a culmination two years’ dedicated work into the causes of crime in Britain.
It is likely that Duncan Smith (whose former lieutenant Tim Montgomerie has been a leading protagonist of the grammar school revolt) will identify family breakdown as the main cause of social collapse, and demand that the Conservatives introduce strong pro-family policies.
If so, David Cameron will be forced to choose between offending Conservative activists, and offending conventional opinion. If he fails to rally behind the traditional values of support for the family, he will face an internal row many times bigger than the one over grammar schools."
David Cameron has said the Conservatives must support marriage and the family, but - so far - there has been no sign through Conservative controlled local authorities that they are actually doing anything now specifically towards this.
The LGA [Local Government Association] has not been demanding that the ONS or its successor publish a Social Capital Index like the Retail Price Index, so that changes in social and domestic cohesion by neighbourhood can be measured by local community leaders and in order that local authorities can be ranked in terms of the improvements that are being made.
Shadow Conservative Ministers are not proposing amendments to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill to promote healthy marriages and to prevent bogus marriages from taking place.
Thus far, action - or, rather, inaction - belies the words.
It is true that the Conservatives are hinting at tax breaks for married couples with families. But they have made such proposals before in the election manifesto only to drop them again before subsequent elections, so why should anyone believe them? When pro-family policies are being implemented by Conservative local authorities, the necessary credentials will start to emerge.
David Cameron is right to be talking about social responsibility, but he will only be believed when the Conservatives demonstrate that they want social and domestic cohesion to be measured, otherwise it is an empty phrase. People want to see where social capital is being built up and what programmes are helping to achieve it.
If the Conservatives don't want to measure social capital and aren't prepared to promote any programmes when the opportunities arise - such as by proposing amendments to the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Bill and the Statistics and Registration Service Bill - for improving marriage and family life, electors are going to remain sceptical about whether Conservative hearts are really in the issue and their stomachs ready for the fight.
Peter Oborne is correct in saying:
"If he [David Cameron] fails to rally behind the traditional values of support for the family, he will face an internal row many times bigger than the one over grammar schools."