Tory Cameron turns the air blue

Author: By James Tapsfield, Press Association

The Tory leader slipped out the word “twat” as he explained why he
did not use the Twitter social networking service.

He then risked making the situation worse by stating that the public was “pissed
off” with politicians – although he quickly added: “Sorry, I can’t
say that in the morning.”

Video: Cameron live and blue

The comments came as Mr Cameron was grilled by Absolute Radio presenter
Christian O’Connell about quirky details of his life and character in what
was billed as a “different kind of interview”.

Asked whether he used Twitter, Mr Cameron said: “The trouble with
Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.”

The remark was greeted with laughter in the studio, with host Christian
O’Connell saying: “That’s fantastic.”

Shortly afterwards, the Tory leader was talking about how “focused”
he was on the forthcoming general election, and the effects of the expenses
scandal.

He said: “The public are rightly, I think, pissed off – sorry I can’t say
that in the morning – angry with politicians.”

Aides stressed that Mr Cameron had apologised immediately for the latter
slip, and pointed out that “twat” was not defined as a swear word
under radio guidelines.

Mr Cameron also revealed that he still asked himself whether he was the right
person to lead the country.

“Of course you think all the time about ‘am I going to be able to take
those really big decisions, take that responsibility suffer the consequences
when things go wrong, take difficult decisions that could involve sending
people into harm’s way?’,” he said.

“I did think about that, though, before standing for the leadership of
the Conservative Party, because I always thought there was a good chance of
winning that…”

“I thought very carefully, ‘am I able to make those decisions, am I tough
enough, am I strong enough to do it?’.

“And I thought ‘yes I want to do this, I can do this and I am going to
give it my best shot’.”

Mr Cameron went on: “It is very daunting, and yes, there are lots of
parts of the job that you will never know until you actually do it.

“But I feel that, having been leader of the Opposition for four years…
I feel more confident about doing it than I did before.”

The Tory leader indicated he would try to be a more “balanced” kind
of prime minister – unlike Gordon Brown, who has been branded a workaholic.

“It is very important to have other things in your life,” he said.

“In some ways the most important thing in politics is the judgments and
decisions that you make, the calls you make.

“They flow from the sort of person that you are, the sort of character
that you are, the sort of balance that you have in your life.

“And I think it is very important to try and keep that balance and that
perspective, because if you get completely fried out and exhausted, then you
will make bad decisions and bad judgments.”

Mr Cameron said he was going on a “big family holiday” to France
this summer.

But he admitted he would get a bit of pressure from wife Samantha over the
need to keep in touch with work.

“I do take my Blackberry on holiday. My deal is that if you take a quick
look in the morning at the headlines and check that there isn’t something
where, actually, you ought to be heading back to the UK because it is such a
massive thing, or is there some big problem in the Conservative Party.

“And then I try to switch off the Blackberry and put it away.

“But they are infectious, these things. It gets worse really – the more
you have it, the more you use it.

“I’m going to be quite strict this time and put it away.”

Other details elicited about Mr Cameron included that he “loves”
Sky Plus, and is a fan of singer Paolo Nutini.

Questioned on which character he identified most with from cult TV series The
A-Team, he replied that it was the muscle-bound Mr T.

Mr Cameron later played down the row, telling Sky News: “You always have
to be careful what you say. If I’ve caused any offence I obviously regret
that.

“I was doing a radio interview and I’m sure that people will understand
that.”

But there was further embarrassment for the Tory leader when the podcast of
weekly highlights from the breakfast show went online.

O’Connell had added an introductory commentary to the recording in which he
gave details of an off-air exchange between Mr Cameron and his press
secretary, Gabby Bertin, after his outburst.

The host said: “She leapt out of her skin after the first part of the
interview, which you are about to hear, when there had been some language.

“He said (to her) ‘That seemed to go OK.’

“She said ‘Yeah, apart from the language.’

“He said ‘Oh, yeah, pissed, sorry about that, I’m really sorry.’ But he
said people are pissed off with politicians, which they are. I think that is
choice language well used personally, from my point of view.

“She said ‘No, it was the twat.’

“He said ‘That’s not a swear word.’ I think he must be posh, where a lot
of them don’t think twat is a swear word.

“His press secretary went ‘It is.”‘

O’Connell praised the Tory leader as a “good bloke”, and said he had
been so “relaxed” during the interview that it was as if he was “down
the boozer”.

He also joked that “twat” was not viewed too seriously by radio
regulators.

“In terms of the fines we can get, it is not one of the big ones,”
he added.

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