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Dave Needs a Good Scrub With a Hard Brush

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The overdue resignation of Maria Miller proves yet again that the inevitable always happens. She has been doomed for days, and the sadness is that David Cameron waited until the stench of gangrene from beneath the bandages became overwhelming before he acted.

So far as Maria Miller is concerned, it is difficult to be charitable. I confine myself to repeating what I said on Sunday: If she goes she won't be missed, if she stays she won't be noticed.

But the harshest judgement has to be reserved for David Cameron himself.

He all too often strikes a high moral tone in his speeches, but it is increasingly obvious he can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

He just does not get what the public think about MPs expenses and that they regard it as a moral issue.

In the past he has used expenses abuse as a weapon to get rid of inconvenient bed-blockers like Sir Peter 'Duck House' Viggers MP, whilst tolerating, and continuing to tolerate, close colleagues who have cynically flipped first and second home designations to make a pile at the public expense, whilst also avoiding (evading?) Capital Gains Tax.

Maria Miller's position was untenable from the start. To most voters, there was no difference between her getting £90K of public money to pay her mortgage on what was obviously the family home, and a rioter stealing a bar of chocolate from a looted shop three summers ago.

But of course the rioter went to prison, whilst the cabinet minister, until public pressure became so overwhelming, continued to sit around Dave's cabinet table. The conclusion is irresistible, Dave just does not get it, does he?

This has to be, at least in part, because his privileged background deprives him of the ability to understand how normal people think about such things. And he compounds the felony by surrounding himself with people of similar social position who share his lack of insight.

Even for a former PR adviser to a commercial television mogul, it is beyond belief that he should think there is more benefit to his government in keeping Maria Miller in the cabinet, because she is a woman, and a mother of three children, than getting rid of her because her behaviour was sleazy, and her way of dealing with legitimate criticism from the Parliamentary Regulator, arrogant and offensive. Her 32-second apology, presumably advised by one of Dave's spin doctors, was an blatant insult to every hard-pressed taxpayer and voter in these islands.

At some point Dave will need to realise that the public wants good ministers more than a politically correct gender balance in his cabinet. And furthermore he mustn't delude himself the ousting of Miller was press power. It was Punter Power wot done it!

The Conservatives have recently been enjoying the benefits of public approval for a fast improving economy, and for an imaginative budget where the pension reforms announced in it captured the public imagination.

People today should be talking about the IMF declaring this morning that Britain's projected growth rate will be the highest in the G7. But through crass ineptitude Dave has ensured all people will be talking about today is a dodgy dealing cabinet minister and Dave's double standards.

This is gold dust for Nigel Farage who, not coincidentally, is heading down to Maria Miller's Basingstoke constituency today to organise a doubtless well-publicised Ukip public meeting. Well he would, wouldn't he?

Dave needs to work out, and fast, what kind of administration he is trying to run. Not one that reeks of opportunism, cronyism, social exclusivity, and double standards. He needs a good scrub with a hard brush.

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