If you’re the leader of a party that’s totally hog-tied by big banks, construction firms, property interests and retailers, how do you speak truthfully to the electorate?
Well, if you’re Mr Cameron you have to be devious.
You know that your retail paymasters will blow their fuses if your big speech of the year includes such sensible advice to people as:
“The only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That means households – all of us – paying off the credit card and store card bills.”
Because that sounds like you’re not just describing what’s happening but actually endorsing it. And that would be bad for
vested interests the ‘recovery’.
So you don’t say those words. But you do make sure they’re in the advance copies of your speech that get sent to the media in time to catch papers on the morning before you step up to the lectern.
When smoke and flames erupt from every orifice of the British Retail Consortium, you feign shocked surprise at how easily your words might be misinterpreted by the public and change the final wording to:
“The only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That is why households are paying down the credit card and store card bills.”
Job done. The coverage generated by changing the wording guarantees far more attention for the first version: the one you wanted everyone to hear.
The big question, of course, is why do we now live in a country whose prime minister has to resort to Byzantine subterfuges to get sensible advice past his Government’s corporate minders?