In the early days of Tony Blair’s leadership, when he was busy giving the party a radical makeover, he joked about members’ evolving view of him. “Last year I was Bambi,” he told conference. “This year I’m Stalin.”

Catherine, Princess of Wales, seems to have undergone a similar transformation in the last few days. One minute she is a mum trying to make a family photo look nicer, the next she is an arch manipulator out to airbrush history.

Truly there is nothing new or too ridiculous under the sun. Where once Stalin was associated with doctoring photos for his own ends - making executed opponents disappear, or his moustache look bushier - you are now forever linked with Photoshop. Already, the populace speak of “doing a Kate” on a picture. “Can you Kate my double chin?” they’ll say, or “Kate the ex, leave the dog.”

The practice is spreading like woodworm, with all sorts taking advantage of the upheaval to put themselves back in the picture. On Monday, Gordon Brown and John Major were photographed together at an event at the Institute for Government think tank. Yesterday it was reported that Boris Johnson was coming back to campaign for the Tories in so-called red wall seats in the north of England and the Midlands. Ditto David Cameron, recently returned as foreign secretary, would be spreading the love for Sunak in the shires.

It is hardly surprising that all the old faces are returning to fill in the gaps. There is going to be a war on soon, don’t you know, only it is being called a general election so as not to panic anyone. Right on cue, here come Dad’s Army, Westminster-on-Sea’s finest, to show us where we have been going wrong.

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Gordon Brown spoke of placing an incoming Starmer government on a “war footing” to kickstart growth, adding that this was a “make or break” decade for the UK economy.

John Major’s plan for happier days ahead included ministers going back to basics in their relationship with the civil service. It was not on, he said, to publicly blame or insult civil servants, or favour the advice of “inexperienced political advisers” over long-established and specialist staff. He might have been referring to Dominic Cummings, or any other chancer to have been in and out of Downing Street in the past few decades.

So there we have it: Johnson, Brown, Major, and Cameron, ready to deploy, and Blair bringing up the rear, for now, with his own battalion of think-tank employees armed with shiny new policy proposals.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be all in favour of hearing what a band of former prime ministers had to say. But not this lot. Gordon Brown advising on how to foster better relations between Number 10 and the Treasury? I suppose he should know a bit about keeping the peace given the near constant war between himself and Blair. Remember, too, Brown’s role in bringing Scotland together again after a divisive independence referendum with The Vow. What better way to unite a country than insulting everyone’s intelligence in one fell swoop.

Or how about Boris Johnson, the bulldozer of Brexit, lecturing the very working class communities who have lost so much because of the policy he backed for his own ends.

Or John Major, giving chapter and verse on standards in public life when he was the prime minister while the parliamentary expenses scandal was brewing. As for David Cameron, architect of austerity and failed lobbyist, it is hard to see what he has to offer save for a posh voice and a vaguely plausible manner, though it is remarkable how far he has worked both to his advantage so far.

The observant will notice there is no place in this Dad’s Army for women. Liz Truss, whatever she thinks, is condemned to a future touring the tinfoil helmet circuit. Theresa May will not be returning as an MP, but it is easy to imagine her taking up some worthy cause or another. No fireworks but she can still write a jolly stiff letter now and then.

Scotland can also lay claim not to be part of the Dad’s Army trend. Say what you will about Scotland’s former First Ministers, but like Aldi Specialbuys once they're gone, they're gone. Alex Salmond had hoped to hang around after guiding his protege, Nicola Sturgeon, to victory in 2015, but that did not exactly work out as he had planned.

Sturgeon has played it smarter. Having failed to pave the way for a successor she landed her party with someone who would be easy to elbow out the way should the need arise. Think about it. At some point this century Operation Branchform will conclude. Like the Second Coming I’ll probably not be around long enough to see it, but something could come of all that money and energy expended.

Should Sturgeon have no case to answer it is surely her right to resume her place at the heart of Scottish democracy. She is only 53 after all. If Major, 80, Brown, 73, and Blair, 70, have second acts in them why not her? I can see it now. Photoshop Humza out and put herself back in, just like that. Delete the motorhome and pop a second-hand VW Polo in the driveway. As for that forensics tent, some cut and pasted bunting and stock photos of guests will have it looking like a wedding marquee in no time. It will be as if none of it ever happened. Nic for ‘26!

I’m sure she is far too sensible for any of that. Without being sexist about it, there is something alpha male in believing in one’s indispensability. The thought that there would be no role for you to play in the future can be hard for some to bear.

Women at least have that cloak of invisibility in the wardrobe, ready to don once they hit their 40s, and that eases the transition into older age. After that a whole new world of opportunities opens up. We can do as we please, assuming Gordon did not muck up the pension. Travel, take up that hobby we have always fancied, photography perhaps. That will keep us out of trouble, isn’t that right Your Royal Highness?