It sometimes seems as if Lib Dems have forgotten how to be liberal. Too many of them clamour for "something to be done", jerk their knees for more government action. Their sense of individual responsibility has been replaced by a statist agenda. Perhaps this announcement will reconnect them with their proud tradition of classic liberalism. The ghost of Gladstone has awoken...
...I have no doubt that both George Osborne and Cameron are instinctive tax-cutters. But they haven't felt able to say so in such overt language as Clegg. Instead, they came up with one of the more vacuous political slogans ever invented - "sharing the proceeds of growth". It is time to ditch that mantra. There may well not be any growth of which to share the proceeds. Economic circumstances, unthinkable only a year ago, call for new measures. Osborne must tear up the commitment to Labour's spending plans - which runs out in 2011 anyway.
It is a shame that the Tories have poured derision on Clegg's plans. Many Conservatives - including me - believe the day may well come when electoral arithmetic dictates that Cameron will need the support of Clegg and his colleagues. Better to hug them close now and identify common ground, rather than construct an artificial divide where none exists.
Tory strategists should beware. Their Lib Dem counterparts know full well that they are facing meltdown in key Tory/Lib Dem marginals. Clegg's move is aimed at retaining the support of those Tory-minded voters who voted Lib Dem in the last three general elections, but are now tempted to switch back. They have been seduced once: they can be seduced again.
Read the whole column HERE.