Cameron is unperturbed because he is sure that he is right - not only in his political and economic judgement, but also in terms of morality. It is ‘right’ that everyone contributes, ‘right’ that the affluent forgo some state-awarded privileges, ‘right’ that those who have scrounged are made to toil, ‘right’ that those who were subsumed by welfare dependency are freed, ‘right’ that Britain honour its pledge to increase international aid, ‘right’ that the government do all it can to get those who become redundant back into work, and ‘right to cut welfare and waste to fund education and security’.
His rhetoric is striking and avowedly One Nation, complete with all that impulse’s moral certitude, reducing the whole political debate to an objective choice between right and wrong. His moralising contrasts with Nick Clegg’s determination to present ‘fair’ cuts. As Matthew Parris argues (£), fairness is a term obscured by fickle arithmetic. Cameron uses the word only once in his interview: black and white moral choices are so much clearer.
For Cameron, Labour is wrong to defend the unsustainable and counter-productive status quo, and Cameron is calmly contemptuous of Ed Miliband’s scare tactics and flirtation with the ‘squeezed middle’ – Cameron, in John Mills mode by this stage, says that the classes who work ‘do a damn fine thing’ and offers them prospect of tax cuts in 2015.
Action will count for more than words. And those tax cuts had better materialise, because the Times reveals what lies in store of those who do a damn fine thing. Philip Hammond says (£) that if commuters want better train services they will have to pay for it. Between trains, planes and the automobiles that will transport their children to an expensive university education, something has to give for the middle, lest it become much thinner.