Matthew Dancona

Cameron proves himself

Cameron proves himself
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The expenses scandal just keeps getting better and better for David Cameron. No, you read that right. The departure of Andrew Mackay is indeed a grievous loss to the Tory leader's inner circle and - self-evidently - a grotesque embarrassment. But, by pre-empting press disclosure, it shows that Mr Cameron will not wait for the media to force him into action. It also shows that he is willing to put the public interest before his own narrow personal interest as a party leader in desperate need of accurate intelligence on the Commons from a trusted source. It shows that Dave has the ruthlessness to govern for the nation rather than for the club.

Contrast Gordon. It took days for Hazel Blears to announce she was going to repay some of the disputed funds, having insisted initially that she had done nothing wrong. If Mr Mackay has left the top Tory team, why is Ms Blears still in the Cabinet? Likewise, it is risible to read that the Prime Minister is discussing his options with the Chief Whips about the future of the former minister Elliott Morley who claimed £16,000 for a mortgage he had already paid off. What's to discuss? The man should be disciplined at once, and sharply so.

Against a backdrop of chaos and public disgust, Cameron is making all the right moves. He is planting the seed that he is the man to handle a crisis, with the guts to take the unpleasant measures needed to right the storm-tossed ship of state. Which in turn communicates the notion that he is the true leader of the nation already, best qualified by character, if not long years of experience, to tackle the country's deep economic problems (remember Blair between 1994 and 1997).

At the Labour conference last year, Brown declared that this is no time for a novice. As the grey old abbot founders and flails, it now appears that he was speaking the opposite of the truth. This novice is the man for the job.