A criticism sometimes made of David Cameron is that before entering politics his only job was in public relations where short term solutions are more valued than long term strategic thinking. I think that distinction has been evident in the past week as the prime minister has twisted and turned to give the impression of being in control of the infighting among his MPs over his promised referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. The crux came on Wednesday night when 114 Conservative MPs voted in favour of a Commons motion to “regret” that the government's Queen's Speech had not contained any commitment to legislate for the referendum -- an act that is difficult to see as anything other than a blunt statement that they do not trust their leader to deliver on this issue. But instead of disciplining his unruly troops he obligingly arranged for them to be provided with the draft of legislation which will probably be introduced as a private member's bill that is either talked out or blocked by some other obscure parliamentary procedure. It is not clear what advantage these tactical moves will have given the prime minister except for a short term relief from the growing feeling in his party and more widely that he is not really in charge of affairs and that his continuation as leader is increasingly in doubt.