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IF you see a man with his head in his hands in an Oxfordshire pub sometime in the next few weeks, it’s probably David Cameron.

Three months today, he should be Prime Minister. But his chances of a majority are thinning faster than William Hague’s hairline.

How can he excite voters, especially if the expenses scandal has made them hate all MPs? How can he win the landslide he wants?

There is more than a little panic in Tory HQ as the opinion poll lead sinks — and the public’s hearts harden.

Seeing four politicians face criminal charges is a reminder about the way the taxpayer was shafted, by MPs of all parties.

I know MPs who tell me there are chunks of places they don’t dare campaign in, because politicians are all so unpopular.

The biggest political emotion in Britain can be summed up in phrases such as “to hell with the lot of them” or “they’re all the same.”

One of MPs facing charges, Jim Devine, was on television admitting he submitted a false receipt — but didn’t see any wrongdoing.

Listening to him ramble on, saying “the other MPs told me it was all OK” you can see the problem. He doesn’t realise.

The tax-hungry government he supports has grown so powerful that it will nail anyone who messes up, anywhere.

Blundered in your tax credit form? They’ll get you. Doing 35mph in a 30mph zone? The fine (and points) will be in the post.

A man was imprisoned the other week for hurling abuse at a Scot. A staggering 4,200 new laws have come in under Labour.

Who passed these laws? The MPs, some of whom are now being sued. They’re caught in the legalistic web they helped weave. Sure, they are all Labour MPs (and one Tory peer). But no one really cares which party. Most folk think: ‘MPs are crooks’.

This is a major problem for Cameron, who is desperately trying to whip up some enthusiasm for the idea of a Tory government.

I hear all manner of wheezes are being dreamed up. Little gizmos, mini-pledges, things to make out that the Tories are useful.

All of this misses the point. The expenses scandal gives a huge opportunity to Cam. He must realise this anti-politics feeling is good for him. People don’t want to be bossed around. So give them an unbossy government.

He can say: “Our election campaign will be like no other. Because we don’t want to take power. We’ll give power to you.”

“The politicians wielding power belongs in the last century. Government has grown out of all proportion to its usefulness: I’ll cut it back.

"Most of all I’m not asking you to believe in my ability to change Britain. I’m asking you to believe in your ability to change Britain.” That kind of message would go down well. Rather than claim “Tories have a cunning plan, better than Labour’s cunning plan.”

Cam should have policies like taking the low-paid out of tax altogether. Abolishing all tax on earnings under £10,000 a year.

He talks too little about his radical school reforms aimed at giving anyone the right to a new independent school. No more would schools choose pupils. Under Cameron’s system, the power is flipped: new schools compete for the right to educate kids.

All good, popular policies.

Nick Clegg has “no idea what Cameron believes”. That’s like John Terry saying he wouldn’t trust Wayne Bridge with his wife.

But Cam is up against the most useless, hated, incompetent Prime Minister ever to bully his way to he top of the Labour Party.

“Trust me” won’t work in the election. Cameron has 88 days left to come up with something better.

FRASER NELSON is also Editor of The Spectator.



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