by Ray Fleming

Prime ministers do not go on BBC Radio 4's Today programme unless they need to. So David Cameron's presence yesterday morning was an acknowledgment that things are not going too well for his government. He said as much: “I want us to do better”. And he emphasised that what he called “the economic rescue mission” remains the overriding priority, adding “If we get it wrong nothing else matters -- pasties, grannies, charities, whatever -- won't matter a jot.” The “omnishambles” of the last month has been worrying both for signs of incompetence and for threats to the unity of the coalition. The local elections at the end of next week are taking on more importance than they usually have because a strong Labour performance could seriously affect the government's morale. However, Mr Cameron seemed unfazed and defended himself against accusations of being too “laid back”. He said he starts work at the kitchen table at 5.45am every morning but he also believed in keeping a sense of proportion -- “If you're completely fried and exhausted and have no time for your family or a game of tennis you may make very bad decisions”. The Daily Telegraph yesterday thought this left an open goal for Mr Cameron's critics who will interpret his approach as “Times are tough and the economy needs help. That's why it's important I play tennis.”

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