At a charity gathering this week, David Cameron said his party was determined to support marriage - but was in no way critical of single mothers. Sorry, but he can't have it both ways. Let's be clear: there are many, many single mothers who are on their own because they have been widowed or abandoned by selfish husbands. They do a wonderful job of raising children in very difficult circumstances. My issue is not with them, but with the countless young women who seek out single parenthood as a lifestyle choice and who sponge off a benefits system that actively encourages them to avoid living with a regular partner. The State is effectively their spouse - providing for their every need at our expense. What a betrayal of their children who, bereft of aspiration, grow up as the underclass of tomorrow, repeating the cycle of poverty and single parenthood that blighted their own upbringing. Yet Mr Cameron still refuses to criticise the mothers who are to blame. Instead, we get his wishy-washy pledge that he is pro traditional families but not against single parenting.
The result? He ends up standing for nothing. It was the same over City bonuses: one minute the Sunshine Kid was telling the world's most powerful bankers that he was on their side; the next he was supporting Gordon Brown's tax on bankers' bonuses. Or how about Green issues? Dave believes in caring for the environment so passionately that he cycles to work - yet has a gas guzzling car to follow behind with his shoes. Europe? He gave a 'cast iron' promise to Europsceptics that he would hold a vote on the Lisbon Treaty - then ducked out at the last minute. Time and again, he seems to lack the conviction to stand up for anything. All that matters to him is causing the minimal possible offence, for fear that it might cost him a few votes at the election. This the politics of appeasement. With our country's social future deteriorating, the economy facing meltdown, and a pathologically dishonest government clinging to power, now is the time for strong leadership, providing consistency, conviction and courage. If Mr Flip-flop is our best hope, we really are in trouble. It's time for David Cameron to show his mettle.