David Cameron has tried to mark a clear break with the various scandals and rows of the last month with a contrite interview promising more competent government.
The Today programme interview came after a month when the government has been accused of incompetence over the 50p top rate of tax, VAT on pasties, caravans and historic building repair, granny tax, the Qatada deportation, the fire strike and tax avoidance.
Mr Cameron refused to discuss the tax arrangements of Sir Philip Green, who put money offshore but holds a substantial cross-Whitehall role. He admitted, however, that it would be sensible to not deal in future with people who are engaged in aggressive tax avoidance – a practice the chancellor recently branded "morally repugnant".
Mr Cameron implicitly criticised Francis Maude's behaviour when he called for people to stock up on fuel ahead of a potential strike by saying "we need to learn lessons in terms of communications".
He also insisted the government was not just about deficit reduction.
"We are more than accountants," he said.
Asked about suggestions that he was lazy and did not commit enough hours to the job, the prime minister replied: "This is a huge honour to do this job but it is hard work. I work very, very hard at it.
"It's got to be possible to be a decent husband, a decent father as well as prime minister".
The prime minister is trying to "restate" the government programme, amid declining opinion polls and concerns about its ability to communicate even relatively simple political messages.