Pick of the Week: Will Cameron’s cowardice be his undoing?
David Cameron kicked off the week with a promise for 200,000 new discounted homes, which sounded like an attracted offer. But there was, as you might have guessed, a catch. Developers no longer have to pay for the new infrastructure to support the housing, including schools, hospitals, roads and flood defences. Someone would be paying for the discount and it evidently wasn't them. Who does that leave? Have you ever heard of the taxpayer? Yeah well it's them.
Another from the 'Kippers say the funniest things' file. This time, the party made its views clear on the capacity of women to operate in the intelligence agencies. "What do we want from our security services – James Bond or Mary Poppins?" one of their MEPs asked. The Commons' intelligence and security committee had previously stated that women are under-utilised by the security services. Evidently not under-utilised enough for Ukip.
After Natalie Bennett's car-crash interview on LBC recently, the party has struggled to get its sense of momentum back – an effort which won't be helped by polls suggesting most people don't believe they have realistic policies. By the time Friday came around a relatively well-received speech by Bennett brought a measure of confidence back to the party, but she needs a strong performance in a combative media interview before members will be fully reassured.
Clegg's announcement of further liberal policies on drugs this week was greeted by some savage attacks in the press and supposedly independent think tanks. But there was something reassuring about the backlash for drug reformers: it was fairly isolated. With the Sun having changed stance and most of the public supportive of reform, there are fewer and fewer people willing to continue the war on drugs.
Our most popular piece of the week assessed quite why David Cameron was so averse to a TV debate, and concluded that it was for the small reason that he had no record to defend or promises to promote. He has become Britain's first post-modern prime minister, with his utterances entirely disconnected from the reality of what the government does. By the end of the week, Cameron was holding firm on not attending the debates, even as it became clear the broadcasters were prepared to empty-chair him. If Cameron fails to win a majority, his refusal to take part in these events could prove enough for the Tory party to pin the blame on him.