James Forsyth

Clegg attacks ‘economically extreme’ Tories

Clegg attacks 'economically extreme' Tories
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The Lib Dem message in Glasgow this week in simple, you can’t trust either Labour or the Tories to run the country on their own. On Marr this morning, Nick Clegg said that the country was being offered a ‘dismal choice’ between ‘sticking your head in the sand’ with Labour or ‘beating up on the poor’ with the Tories.

Clegg was determined to get his anti-Tory lines out there. He accused George Osborne of a plan to ‘savage unprotected public services’ and again and again attacked the Tories for being ‘economically extreme’ and supposedly wanting to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. He also drew another red line for any future coalition, by saying the Lib Dems could never go along with the plans the Tories outlined this week on the ECHR.

But all this Tory bashing needs to be kept in perspective. The Tories have been very careful to, in contrast to the EU referendum, not make their ECHR proposals a coalition red line. Also, the Tories and the Lib Dems agree on the two biggest policies announced in Birmingham last week—raising the tax threshold to £12.5k and ring-fencing the NHS budget.