The thing David Cameron wants you to forget when watching his election broadcast

Today’s election broadcast from the Conservatives simply features David Cameron talking to camera about MPs and their expense claims. The message is meant to be about him facing up to the problems and talking frankly about them.

But listen to his language:

I want to start by saying sorry … sorry for the actions of some Conservative MPs…

[The] principle of thrift should apply to Conservative MPs too. So from now on I want them to claim what is reasonable to do their job…

Members of my Shadow Cabinet, including Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin and Andrew Lansley, have agreed to pay back money… Other members of the Shadow Cabinet, like Francis Maude and Chris Grayling, will not in future claim any money for their second homes…

Conservative MPs who have excessive expense claims will have to go in front of [a new] scrutiny panel…

Only rent, mortgage interest, overnight bills, utility bills and council tax bills can be claimed [in future by Conservative MPs]

All his wording is about what other people have done: “them”, “Conservative MPs” and a list of names in which he doesn’t include himself. But his message rather falters if you remember … that he’s already admitted he should not have claimed for a home repair bill (a category, note, which he says he is going to ban) and that he’s repaying it.

Not one word from David Cameron directly admitting he’s done the very thing he is criticising in others. Not even when he talks about the importance of taking personal responsibility does he admit to his own behaviour. Not even when he says he’s going to ban the very sort of claim that he’s made himself.

Now imagine if Gordon Brown behaved the same way what the reaction of many Conservatives would be…


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