The biggest disconnect between elite debate and public opinion may well be over the central question of "cuts" in public spending.
The evidence is growing that the public are yet to be convinced by arguments for very heavy cuts in public services. On balance, they are more concerned on the impact of cuts on public services than the consequences of not cutting for the budget deficit. And they appear more open to a balanced approach to spending cuts, tax increases, debt and the pace of deficit reduction than many commentators would like.
The response from much of the commentariat, especially on the right, is to charge the public with denial: 'they just don't get it. National bankruptcy stares us in the face'.
But it doesn't. If one wanted to take a (perhaps excessively) sanguine view of the question, one could take the sole Budget speech of the leading 'progressive Conservative' of the last century, in which Harold Macmillan held fast to his centrist, pro-public services Keynesian outlook:
It was 1956, and the national debt was 150% of GDP. Current projections suggest it could rise to half of that over the next four years.
Macmillan quoted the historian Macauley over the debt fears of the 18th century.
At every stage in the growth of that debt it has been seriously asserted by wise men that bankruptcy and ruin were at hand; yet still the debt kept on growing, and still bankruptcy and ruin were as remote as ever.
"In fact the debt was gradually reduced from these peaks without any heroic gestures", as FT columnist Samuel Brittan has written.
It was primarily growth what did it.
It has been argued that the post-war welfare state was unaffordable - though less often how this insight could have been carried through in the face of overwhelming democratic support for it. It has been more credibly argued that, if Britain was to expand domestic public spending, it needed to move more quickly from a global power to a European one.
Of course, Macmillan remains second only to Heath in the Thatcherite hall of villainy. As a consequence, his status among Progressive Conservatives is far from clear, though David Cameron's press team have characteristically briefed that he has a picture of SuperMac, not Maggie, in his office. Since Cameron seems to entirely reject Macmillan's economic outlook, one might not seem to make so much difference to the choices he would make in government.
Today, the budget deficit is a problem that needs to be dealt with - though one can not simply short circuit the political and policy debates and choices about how to do that.
But, if only progressive Conservatives knew their own history, they would realise that claims of an existential crisis of national debt are bunk.
PS: The Conservative opposition has focused primarily for almost a fortnight on suggesting that the BA cabin crew strike heralds an age of industrial militancy, further proving that the "militant" Unite union somehow owns runs a government which opposes its strike. "That line of attack is opportunist, hysterical and historically illiterate, but not necessarily ineffective" suggested Sunday's Observer leader, suggesting a grudging regard for Tory cynicism since they would surely settle for that.
Yet it would all seem to have been highly ineffective too. Mark Pack at LibDemVoice debunks the Sunday Times' claim that the action is "beginning to hurt the government’s standing", noting that this is based on a poll showing that 4% of voters thought it would make them less likely to vote Labour, 1% more likely and 80% no difference; while 22% think the unions too powerful and 19% not powerful enough.