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Simon Carr

Simon Carr: David Cameron is much too nice to lead nasty party

He's not saying he's going to do anything – he wants a debate about it.

If that's the return of the Nasty Party, there'll be an awful lot of nice people nodding along with it. It's the Gordon Brown school of sketch writing to call David Cameron nasty, with his nice hair, nice manner, nice wife, nice – I don't know – internet history, and perfectly nice way of presenting the facts of life to a recalcitrant nation of benefit dependants.

In Dartford yesterday he read out his essay on the subject of welfare reform. You might have hoped that such a profound subject would call up his deepest Conservative instincts and he'd be able to speak to us from the heart in some leaderly way, full of truth and courage.

Maybe it's too early for that. He's not saying he's going to do anything – he wants a debate about it. It isn't a policy. And if it was a policy it wouldn't be put up for years. And if it was put up they'd immediately withdraw it. If you called them the Not Very Good At It Party, that might get more traction.

To his matter. People making £100,000 a year have council houses.

People on the maximum housing benefit would have to earn £80,000 a year to live like that. People are paid by the state to live in post codes we toilers and hewers can't afford. Etcetera. A lot of etcetera.

He was at pains to make nice, recognising the good intentions of the welfare state, but that the founders trusted that these benefits would be taken up temporarily because "people would do the right thing". That should have got more of a laugh than it did.

On the news reports, a trailer ran under Cameron – Spain has asked for €100bn bailout. And you could help thinking of the old Scottish economist who first said that democracy would only endure until the public realised they could "vote themselves largesse from the public purse". I think that's where we are now.