Now listen up you press cheppies, I only said what I say I said, and thet's thet, so thyah! Jolly good sheow!!
Then he’d been misinterpreted, and worse, it was the press chappies’ fault. No, he wasn’t going to sack cabinet members who didn’t back a stance on the EU that meant urging a Yes vote. After all, the negotiations might not go as Dave wants, and so he could end up urging a No vote (yeah, right). So that was clear, wasn’t it? Well, no it wasn’t: if the whole media political spectrum got the same message, there was no misinterpretation.
And, as Andrew Marr has pointed out to Cameron this morning - someone, it seems, had to - “4th law of British politics: don't go to war with the Lobby”. Was the Lobby so pissed off with Dave? Look no further than the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, who seethed “New definition for 'misinterpreted': I screwed up, but it's your fault”. Normally supportive newspapers were scathing in their response.
Daily Mail Comment was typical, thundering “What a muddle! Barely 24 hours after David Cameron appeared to warn ministers they must quit if they wish to campaign to leave the EU, he claims this was just a misunderstanding. All he was saying, he protests, is that those who want to stay in his team must support his belief that his renegotiations will be successful. This paper leaves it to readers to decide” [my emphasis].
That’s code for “he fouled up, and had he not been our approved choice of PM, we’d have given the idiot both barrels”.The editorial continues “Just one suggestion. Wouldn’t he be wiser still to stop declaring that the deal our partners agree will be the right one? Indeed, doesn’t this weaken his negotiating hand, while raising suspicions that he’ll try to make a silk purse of whatever the EU offers, no matter how strongly it smells of pigskin?”
The discontent reached the upmarket papers too, as Tim Shipman, now at the Sunday Times, observed, Tweeting “Many of the Cameron government’s problems occur when journalists write down what he says and put it in their newspapers” (he also assembled “Today's euro mess explained in nine tweets”, which you can read HERE). Moreover, the pundits have confirmed that Dave’s post-election honeymoon is over.
That, once again, is in evidence across the board: at the Tel, Dan, Dan The Oratory Man sneered “David Cameron has confirmed that he will do anything to keep us in the EU”, while at the Mail, Stephen “Miserable Git” Glover was equally scathing, telling “As evidence mounts that Cameron and his allies have decided there will be a Yes vote to stay in the EU, I smell a cynical stitch-up”. Cameron is really shortening those timescales.