The Newsnight interview with David Cameron last night showed the BBC at its best. Four senior journalists interrogated Cameron, with interesting results.
It was an unusual format. I suspect the deal was - "OK - make sure Paxo is two thousand miles away but we'll let four of your finest have a go instead".
The result was productive - some light produced rather than the heat radiated by a "Paxo stuffing".
David Cameron was showing his gift of the gab at its most elegant. However, each of the four journalists hit home with individual points which, although Cameron gave a smooth line of defence in each case, actually exposed serious weaknesses in his position.
On Iraq, Mark Durban clearly drove home the point that Cameron had a neo-Con stance on Iraq, but now two years later, has become a liberal dove on the matter. Although Cameron waffled his way out of this one, his hypocrisy was clearly exposed.
Stephanie Flanders beautifully exposed the uselessness of the £20 a week proposal for married couples. Cameron virtually admitted (or at least implied) that the proposal would have no impact but said that it was, more or less, a needed gesture. So, in summary, Cameron is proposing to spend millions of scarce taxpayers' resources on what he as much as admits is a "gesture". Ridiculous.
On Immigration, Cameron seemed to mix up asylum and immigration. He was saying that asylum admissions have been too high. The natural action which flows from that statement is a limit on asylum admissions, which the Tories proposed at the last election, and was quite rightly condemned as a breach of civilised behaviour. To give Cameron his due (never thought I'd write that!) he did make a genuine attempt to carefully calibrate his language on immigration.
But it was Michael Crick who, for me, scored the winning goal against the Camster. He raised the issue of the Shadow cabinets' 115 jobs outside parliament. He exposed the ridiculousness of a part-time shadow cabinet which is trying to present themselves as potential ministers in a few months time. In particular he focused on William Hague's many outside jobs which bring him hundreds of thousands of pounds every year. How can we take the Tories seriously as a potential government when they are off earning vast amounts outside their shadow cabinet and parliamentary jobs?
Our friendly neighbourhood Fluffy Elephant obviously had a spiral topped notepad under his trunk during this programme as written a brilliant and comprehensive debunking of "Mr Balloon".