It is still hard to believe that, less than a year ago, Rishi Sunak was leading a Government consultation on the accessibility of disabled toilets.
As he concluded his summer statement, the Chancellor remarked: "Governments, much less people, rarely get to choose the moments that define them. What choice there is comes in how we respond."
Mr Sunak may not have chosen it, but the 40-year-old fledgling politician is fast becoming defined by what many regard as the most robust response to the coronavirus crisis of anyone in Government.
Once regarded as so chick-like by Dominic Cummings that he was installed as the supposedly malleable replacement for Sajid Javid, on Wednesday we witnessed the Treasury's resident hawk take flight.
As he flapped his wings in the face of over-caution, not only from the Department of Health but also from Number 10 itself, his message was clear – it is finally time to set Britain's caged economy free.
Mr Sunak delivered his rescue package – notable for its lack of jargon and its brevity at just 25 minutes – with bullet-point succinctness, ensuring that his words would be easily understood by the public.
The simple message for people to "Eat Out to Help Out" undoubtedly put him squarely at odds with the likes of Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, and the Sage experts grimly predicting a second coronavirus peak.
But it appeared that Mr Sunak – a former hedge fund manager with a first from Oxford and an MBA from Stanford – had done the sums and fast concluded that more lives will be lost if drastic measures aren't taken to rescue UK PLC.
As he unveiled a magic money tree to rival all the crops in Jeremy Corbyn's allotment, Tories would ordinarily have balked at the idea of a £30 billion spending splurge.
As Mr Sunak himself put it, however, putting the compassionate back into Conservative: "People need to know that, although hardship lies ahead, no one will be left without hope. We entered this crisis unencumbered by dogma and we continue in this spirit, driven always by the simple desire to do what is right."
It soon became apparent that this wasn't just about ensuring a V-shaped recovery for the economy but also about preventing the nation's work ethic from going completely pear-shaped.
Insisting that furlough "cannot and should not go on forever", Mr Sunak confirmed that the scheme would be wound up in October rather than allowing "endless extensions" that "give people false hope".
"I believe in the nobility of work," he added, should anyone be under any illusions that the somewhat socialist offerings so far were in any way at the expense of his innate free market instincts.
As well as acknowledging the uncomfortable truth that some workers have grown overly reliant on the Government subsiding their wages, the move was also designed to assuage backbenchers calling for the scheme to be wound up by the end of summer.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that Mr Sunak, the son of a GP and a pharmacist, should have resembled a doctor prescribing methadone as he announced not only a new Jobs Retention Bonus but also other sweeteners in the form of a Kickstart Scheme for the under-25s, stamp duty and VAT cuts as well as 50 per cent off eating out in August.
Although opposition members were quick to point out the flaws in offering the public two Big Macs for the price of one amid the UK's growing obesity crisis, the inventiveness of his scheme caused Tory WhatsApp groups to light up with backslapping praise.
Ordinarily, Conservatives do not welcome this kind of state intervention – but when it was as time-limited as Mr Sunak had shrewdly made his fillips, they appeared willing to relax their trademark fiscal discipline. The Chancellor's predecessor Mr Javid was on hand to play headmaster, reminding him of the importance of balancing the books by the end of the current parliament.
"Over the medium-term, we must, and we will, put our public finances back on a sustainable footing," Mr Sunak promised, much to the delight of the blue-rinsed bean-counters.
One veteran Tory said afterwards: "MPs were just grateful for a sense of direction out of lockdown rather than going round and round in circles as we have been.
"Ultimately, the Government will be judged on whether it has been effective. Throughout this crisis, Rishi has calmly been doing what's necessary without all the razzmatazz – he is looking at things that will work rather than make headlines."
There was also appreciation for the courage of Mr Sunak's convictions and the "backbone" he has shown in quietly pushing the case for Britain to unlock, although some Conservatives would have liked more help for small and medium sized businesses and the self-employed.
When David Cameron and George Osborne described themselves as "One Nation Conservatives", no one ever quite believed it.
Although similarly privately – and Philosophy, Politics and Economics – educated, few could doubt Mr Sunak's sincerity when he declared: "I want every person in this House and in the country to know that I will never accept unemployment as an unavoidable outcome."
Stressing that he appreciated people were not just "anxious about losing their jobs" but also "cautious about going out", he was not just signalling the start of Britain's recovery but also its renewal as he urged the public to "find that new balance between safety and normality".
On Wednesday, the Chancellor gave permission for Britain to leave its Covid-19 nest. After four months of taking fright, the fightback had finally begun.