Cameron grounds the kids
Just when you thought it impossible for Gordon Brown to lose any more ground against the Conservatives (or the Conservatories, as I’d like them to be called hereafter), he’s lost a huge amount of ground in the last few hours.
Earlier today, David Cameron acted like the parent of a naughty set of kids. He strongly berated members of his party, holding his own hands up about his wisteria-trimming ways, and put in place firm sanctions for their behaviour. He confronted the issue of what is right vs. what is legally allowed, siding with the public opinion that legality doesn’t matter, and what is right and just is more important. And he ordered that his “kids” owned up to the errors of their ways and paid money back to the fees office for anything that fell outside the spirit or letter of the law, or else face eviction from the party.
Compare this to Hazel Blears’ phraseology when declaring that she would repay the capital gains tax that she previously avoided, a position that she vehemently defended not 24 hours earlier.
It’s not enough to simply abide by the rules and the law…
Hardly the most contrite position.
When asked whether any other Cabinet ministers would need to act in a similar manner, Alistair Darling, for example, Gordon Brown suggested that “Hazel Blears is in a different position to other members of the Cabinet”, reluctant to indict his ministers, Blears included. In the same interview with Nick Robinson, Brown confirmed that “people do make mistakes”.
Cameron’s hard line is impressive, and he is likely to come out of this not smelling of roses, but certainly with the moral high-ground over Brown. He said an independent review of every claim made would help MPs show they are “worthy of public trust”.
Brown’s continuing reference to “mistakes” and his very suggestion that MPs might be worthy of trust are not sentiments the public wants to hear at the moment. Nor do they want to hear Blears refer back to her legal cleanliness when offering to write her cheque to HMRC.
They want to hear that the kids have been grounded and their pocket money stopped. That’s where Cameron has captured the public’s imagination and further increased his lead over Brown in the election race.