Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Mini-ster, yesterday tried to calm jitters among Liberal Democrat MPs about the impact of the cuts – not least on the party's own electoral fortunes. He said: "The spending review provides the best evidence yet of why we are in government – and that we are delivering on our priorities."He appears to think that the "gains" which he has wrestled from the Tories...
Mr Clegg, who beat off a Treasury attempt to end 15 hours of free child care for all three- and four-year-olds, trumpeted Liberal Democrat "gains" in the spending review – including a £2.5bn-a-year "pupil premium" for children from disadvantaged families; protecting spending on health, overseas aid and infrastructure projects; radical welfare reform; and delaying a decision on whether to renew the Trident nuclear missile system.... are, in some way, a price worth paying for half a million job losses.
Welcome as the pupil premium and spending on overseas aid is, does Clegg seriously think this will have any impact on the public psyche as Osborne wields his blade across a wide range of public services? Does he seriously think people will say, "Well, it could have been worse, we could be without the pupil premium?" Or, "Thank God they have delayed the decision on Trident!"
Clegg and the Liberal Democrats will be remembered as the co-authors of one of the most brutal assaults on the state in living memory.
And they will be viewed much more harshly than their Tory counterparts because they campaigned on the very opposite of what they are now backing.
I've yet to work out on what basis Clegg thinks cuts on this scale make Britain "fairer" or "more liberal". What does he mean by that?
In a high-risk strategy, Mr Clegg urged his MPs to share ownership of the cuts, describing them as a "Coalition process and Coalition product".
Admitting that the review involved difficult decisions, he insisted: "These are the right decisions to build a fairer and more liberal Britain."
It's simply not fair that the poorest members of our society should pay more of a price than the banking community for a crisis caused by their greed; nor is it, in any way that I can measure, more "liberal".
Indeed, it's hard to think of anything less fair and less liberal than asking the poor to pay for the mistakes of the country's wealthiest bankers.
As I say, Clegg has simply lost his marbles. He appears to think that him saying that something is "fair" and "liberal" makes it so. But the rest of the nation has eyes, we can see what is happening. And Clegg's rampant bullshit won't blind us to what he has signed up to.
He has sold his party - and the people who voted for him - down the river. He should be ashamed of what he has done.
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