A collection of public affairs professionals brought together by Portland have given David Cameron a solid B for his performance as PM this year.
The Premier was seen as having put in a steady but slightly below par 12 months, according to the group of government relations experts.
But Mr Cameron’s End of Term report card was better than those of Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband – who both scraped C passes.
However, there was agreement that the PM ‘s successes were overshadowed by awkward u-turns on a number of policy areas like the forest sell-off, NHS reform, the defence and security review and building schools.
And they warned he had been distracted too easily by the Big Society.
There were also concerns over his relations with Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, which could yet cast a shadow over his second year.
Nick Clegg was also held back by the high profile u-turn on tuition fees, and Huhne and Cable’s indiscretions were another unwelcome distraction.
He has much to do next year, but given the problems he has faced, he should be pleased with a C.
Ed Miliband started slowly but rallied over phone hacking and is starting to show potential. It was generally agreed that he has done well to get a C and should be pleased.
Many others deserve special mention. Those in contention for the more coveted House Prizes – head boy/girl, prefect, valedictorian and most improved – include Greg Clark, William Hague, Tom Watson and Justine Greening.
All have performed well in their chosen subjects, and have shown some of their classmates how it should be done. However, some fellow pupils spent too much time in detention this year.
Crispin Blunt and Ken Clarke have been put on special measures at the Ministry of Justice over sentencing policy.
Special mention went to John Glen and Jo Johnson for the Tories; Emma Reynolds and Michael Dugher for Labour; and Julian Huppert for the Lib Dems. All have shown real talent and flair, and are thought to have bright futures ahead of them.
The verdict on the Coalition as a whole was that it will last the full five years, and has defied expectations by remaining stable through a very eventful first year, even by political standards. However, the majority remain undecided.
There has been lack of clarity and direction. Weak economic figures and vague plans for growth suggest a rocky year ahead. Cuts will start to bite and Ed Miliband is belatedly finding his feet.
A long-awaited reshuffle may prove a useful turning point, but the firm conclusion reached is this: a shaky B minus and a resounding ‘must try harder’.