Peter Hoskin

Cameron road tests his anti-Ed message

Cameron road tests his anti-Ed message
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After Fern Britton's triumph over Gordon Brown a couple of years ago, we should know that This Morning interviews can have a certain bite to them. But if you needed more convincing, then how about David Cameron's appearance on the show this morning? Lurking behind all the talk of baby Florence and the Obamas, was a sprightly discussion of both defence cuts and the new Labour leader. Cameron was combative on both.

Most noteworthy were Cameron's attacks on Ed Miliband. I imagine they will set the template for how the anti-Ed operation is conducted in future. The main aim, it seemed, was to defuse Miliband's talk of an optimistic New Generation – a woefully specious phrase, to be sure, but one that some Tories fear might gain traction. "I'm very optimistic," assured Cameron, "that if we deal with the deficit, if we pay down our debts, live within our means, we've got a great future as a country." He then spun the charge round on its head, to paint Miliband as immature when it comes to the public finances: "[his view is to] forget about the deficit because it's somehow pessimistic to talk about it".

Even Cameron's kinder words about Miliband had some intent behind them, I think. Discussing a phone conversation that the pair shared, the PM revealed, "I said to him if there are issues you want to talk about, whether it is terrorism or whatever, just pick up the phone … sometimes it's right that we should be talking together on behalf of the nation, agreeing how to handle sensitive issues." The message? That he may talk about new politics, but I actually do it. It will be intriguing to see whether Cameron adopts this mantle of studied reasonableness in future clashes with his new sparring partner.

P.S. You can watch the interview here.