The scale of David Cameron's reshuffle surprised pretty much everyone. But the intent is clear: to solve two problems -- something he’s trying to do by sending two very different messages.
That means a sideways shift for Michael Gove - increasingly toxic to swing voters who could easily swing towards Labour or the Liberal Democrats.
Teachers are never likely to be a big Tory target -- but parents are. And Mr Gove's increasingly combative attitude with a large section of the teaching profession risked alienating them.
As Chief Whip, he'll still have a big role to play, keeping the party's MPs on side, and guiding the election campaign. While that's a job that would normally keep him out of the public eye, he's also managed to negotiate a starring role as Chief Minister for Going on Breakfast TV. It'll keep alive his hopes of advancement post-2015 - but will Michael Gove be any less toxic for voters when he's not picking fights with teachers? Or, for that matter, other Cabinet ministers?
Mr Gove's departure from Education makes way for one of the new wave of women in the Cabinet. While that addresses (at least to some extent) the criticism of a "posh boy" government, it also risks looking like pre-election window dressing.
This was a tough problem for David Cameron to solve. In 2010, there were only a handful of female Tory MPs with experience in government. He gave junior jobs to many of the new recruits, who are now being promoted to the top table.
But he's also waited until the last possible moment to redress the gender balance in his government, risking accusations of a stage-managed stunt.
As MPs head off on their summer break, he’s also given the new recruits little time to get to grips with their jobs before the election campaign looms into view.
While doubling the number of women in front-line jobs is aimed at middle-ground voters who think the Tories aren't much like them, it also masks a broad shift to the right, aimed squarely at grassroots Conservatives who defected to UKIP in May.
Putting Philip Hammond in the Foreign Office is the centrepiece of that strategy.
Much more hardline on Europe than William Hague, a man who has openly flirted with taking Britain out of the European Union, he’s being lined up for a major role in any renegotiation of the UK’s membership ahead of a 2017 referendum.
That’s a clear signal to those voters who jumped ship to UKIP in May -- you can get the change you want with the Conservatives.
So, newer, younger faces in the frontline of the Tories’ 2015 election campaign -- many more women than before -- but also a noticeable shift to the right.
This is David Cameron trying to balance the demands of the two groups he needs if he’s to get that prized outright majority next May.
But that balancing act presents opportunities for both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.
Labour will find it easier to fight a Tory party leaning to the right than one hugging the centre ground, while the Liberal Democrats will say this shows the need for a restraining influence on the “nasty party”.
And in the middle of all that, the surprising departure of William Hague. He’s edging off the stage, a ten-month lap of honour as Leader of the House and David Cameron’s de facto deputy, and then out of Westminster politics.
It’s almost twenty years since he first entered the Cabinet, and close to forty since a very young William Hague did that notorious turn at the Conservative conference.
Hague’s story is fascinating. Ridiculed as Tory Boy made flesh, he rose to party leader far too soon, made no impact on Tony Blair’s gigantic majority, and retreated from the spotlight in 2001.
And that was perhaps the making of him. The William Hague we see today -- probably the best parliamentarian of his generation -- was forged in the failures of the late 90s.
He’s gone from figure of fun to hover near the top of a list of great Prime Ministers we never had.
His last act at Westminster will be to try to get David Cameron re-elected -- no easy task.
But now the Prime Minister’s set out his stall -- tougher on Europe, and with a team that looks at least a little more like the Britain he wants to continue to lead.