No doubt there will be a mini internal inquest today within Cameron’s team over why his flagship speech included an exhortation to the general public to pay off their credit cards.
The clear implication of a prime minister asking the public to stop spending – at a time of a potential double-dip recession – was not lost on anyone today. Cameron was also under pressure from those who did not like the sight of a millionaire “lecturing them” (in the words of Ed Balls) over managing their household finances. And meanwhile GDP growth for the second quarter has been downgraded to a feeble 0.1 per cent.
This morning aides sought desperately to convince hacks that this was not what the speech meant – with no success. And now in the last few minutes there has been an urgent edit of the credit card passage.
The original phrase was “the only way out of a debt crisis is to deal with your debts. That means households – all of us – paying off the credit cards.” Now it will say “that is why households are paying off the credit cards.”