David Cameron's use of 'regret' and 'failure' suggest he wants to drain away Brexit anger

As I watched the David Cameron interview play out finally on Monday night, I was reminded of just how much work went into it.

I have never done an interview with as much forethought and doubt I ever will again.

A world in which everyone appears angrier than ever before is not an easy wicket on which to work out how to approach a former prime minister whom many blame for the chaos that is currently engulfing us.

If there is one takeaway from the interview though, it is surely that David Cameron is very, very sorry.

About almost everything.

He uses "regret" and "failure" more than I can recall any former leader ever doing in any period after their departure from power, and by a country mile.

In that sense, it was a most unusual thing to witness.

There is purpose in this, of course.

He knows the situation is chaotic and that many people are frustrated and angry at how things have turned out.

His apparent (though, as far as I can tell, genuine) humility and penitent tone cannot have been an accident and it is clearly designed to drain some of the anger.

But there is equally little doubt that he remains tortured by everything that has happened since the night he lost.

David Cameron admitted to feeling 'haunted'. Credit: ITV/Tonight

As I say in the interview, I always thought of him as a man who believes in evolution not revolution – the original small ‘c’ Conservative – and the fact that he has left a world where the Constitution, not to mention the Union, is under threat and we are seriously discussing whether the Prime Minister lied to the Queen is clearly one that pains him deeply.

He admitted to feeling haunted, there were times he looked hunted.

So it may very well be that David Cameron wants a deal and a "successful" Brexit more than anyone else in the entire country.

Because the alternative – more chaos, division and disunity – would be unthinkable.

Perhaps the most telling part of the interview was when I asked him at the end how he would explain all this to his grandchildren if the Union does not make it through in one piece.

He looked, I think it is fair to say, uncomfortable.

His legacy remains in the balance, still.

And he knows it.

  • The Cameron Interview is on the ITV Hub