The first time I met David Cameron was at a Blackpool hotel at the Conservative party conference the year after he became leader.

After being introduced, we sat on the sofa sipping warm champagne - conference champagne is always warm – and so to break some ice, as it were, I asked the shadow PM what, if the election were being held the next day, would be the five big things he would want flagged on the front pages of the newspapers, say The Sun. His personal manifesto, if you like.

Britain's Chancellor George Osborne speaks on the second day of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham central England September 29, 2014
'George Osborne said a future Tory government would increase the IHT threshold to £1m, or £2m for couples'Reuters

He gave his five – which I have forgotten. But what I have not forgotten is that he did not mention tax at all, and most certainly not tax cuts.

So I asked him why not and didn't he think that abolishing inheritance tax was a no-brainer as well as the principled thing to do?

Well, readers, he nearly fell off the sofa and looked at me as though I were mad. "No, we couldn't possible do that," he said. "Everyone would think we were the party of the rich."

Clearly irritated, he glided off to hobnob with one of the many financial donors present (and who do not pay IHT because they are rich enough to have lawyers to create lovely trusts for them) at the private party hosted by the party chairman.

So imagine my surprise when a year later, the shadow chancellor, George Osborne – always the bluer of the two – said a future Tory government would increase the IHT threshold to £1m, or £2m for couples, a pledge that spooked the then Labour leader Gordon Brown into abandoning plans to call an early general election.

Guess what? Labour raised the allowance to £325,000 – or £650,000 for married couples. Meanwhile, the Tories dropped the pledge after the last election during the coalition negotiations as they believed such a giveaway looked at odds with austerity.

Four years in power has not bought Cameron bigger cojones than those he had in Blackpool. In fact, listening to the prime minister last week speaking to a group of pensioners at Age UK about the IHT threshold, I wondered whether he had lost his marbles completely. Or had a lobotomy.

Cameron told them that, ideally, the threshold should be raised above £650,000, but then said IHT is a tax only the "mega-rich" should pay. "To me, inheritance tax is a tax that should be paid by the very wealthy," he said. "I think you should be able to pass a family home on to your children rather than leave it to the taxman."

He went on: "You see someone who has worked hard, they have put money into their house, they have done it up to improve it and they want to leave it to their children and they don't feel that they are in any way the mega-rich, and they feel: 'I should be able to do that without having 40% of it knocked off.'"

Go back and read his words again: "Very wealthy... mega-rich... worked hard."

David Cameron highlights the "mega-rich" but who are they?

There is so much flawed in his language and thinking that you do wonder whether he's decided that pitching for Ed Milliband's job might be safer than fighting for his own.

Firstly, who is he to say IHT should be paid by the very wealthy? (Most do not appear to but that is not the point.) Secondly, who defines mega-rich? A couple living in Yorkshire, where property prices are lower and who have inherited a home that is worth £300,000, won't have to pay IHT. Yet they may think a couple with a home worth £650,000 are "mega-wealthy'" and so should pay IHT.

UK airstrikes in Iraq against Isis
'How does David Cameron arrive at the assumption that only people who have "worked hard" and "put money in" are the ones who do not deserve to pay IHT?'Reuters

Thirdly, how does Cameron arrive at the assumption that only people who have "worked hard" and "put money in" are the ones who do not deserve to pay IHT?

I bet there are an awful lot of people who have inherited homes worth a fortune but have not had to work for their bread. Do they not deserve it too?

Perhaps, the Tories will send HMRC inspectors into homes to discover whether the person or couple in question have worked hard enough, and deserve the allowance or not? Is this what he means?

What is worse than Cameron using cheap slogans such as rich, very wealthy and mega-rich is his insidious harping on about the hard-working people of Britain. Is it not enough to work? Shall we add a new sub-section to the working classes, such as "the hard-working classes" (that's the middle-classes to you and me)?

The language Cameron is using is dangerously loaded and he should remember what George Orwell said about our beautiful English prose: "It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

Either IHT is fair or not; either you have a principle that taxing people on their death who have already paid at least three lots of tax on their income, is right. Or not. Cameron should send for Amal Clooney to find his marbles. Then he should abolish IHT and be damned.

Margareta Pagano is a business journalist who writes for the Independent and the Financial News. Follow her on Twitter @maggiepagano.