In a speech to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Mr Cameron said politicians
needed to admit past mistakes if they were to build public trust and lead the
economic recovery. "I am sorry we have got some things wrong," he said. "We
were right to call time on government debt but should we have said more about
banking debt, corporate debt? Yes we should have done. Saying sorry was the
"easy bit", Mr Cameron said, adding that it was more "difficult" for politicians
to say where they had gone wrong. "It's that that needs to take place in order
to build trust with the public so that we can get this economy out of recession
and into recovery," he said.
I must admit when I first saw this earlier in the evening I did a double take. But I can see the logic of it. The media in general are interpreting this as a move designed to put more pressure on Gordon Brown to apologise for his own part in the mistakes of the last decade. But I think it goes further than that. Cameron knows that there will be some very difficult decisions to be taken by him and his Chancellor, should they be elected. And he knows that they will be far more palatable with the British people if they trust him to tell the truth about the necessity of those decisions. So I don't interpret this as a decision designed to put Brown in a fix, I think it is more complicated than that. In my interview with Cameron for Total Politics this month, he said he would need to be totally honest with the British people about the future. The speech tonight is designed to be honest about the party's mistakes in the past.