Desperately weak stuff from Nick Clegg this weekend:
"So the choice before people is the choice between fake, phoney change from David Cameron's Conservatives, and real change the Liberal Democrats offer."
Well, there's certainly been some change on offer from the Lib Dems: They've changed their line on spending to what the Conservatives were saying when it wasn't easy to do so. So, in making a comparison between a cheap copy and the original item, Nick Clegg might want to consider who's the "fake" here.
Of course, there's not much that Lib Dems can do to change anything. But one option that is open to them is to shift the balance of forces across the political spectrum. For instance, when, under Paddy Ashdown, they abandoned their policy of 'equidistance' to side with New Labour against the Conservatives, they did bring about a small but significant realignment of British politics. Their reward was to advance deep into Conservative territory, with at least twenty Westminster seats moving from the blue to the yellow column.
Rather than grab a historic opportunity to challenge Labour's dominant position on the centre-left, Clegg's strategy is almost entirely defensive, a desperate attempt to hold on to the Ashdown inheritance. It is a cowardly, unimaginative and hypocritical approach; an indictment of a party unwilling to stand up for its centre-left convictions.
I genuinely believe that the reform-minded Lib Dems would make for a more constructive set of opponents than the socialist-reactionary Labour Party. Having had bad experiences with the Lib Dems at a local level, I can understand why many Conservatives would disagree with me. What I don't understand, however, is why the Lib Dems should demonstrate so faith in themselves.
Have they no self-respect?