Peter Hoskin

Clegg downplays the cuts

Clegg downplays the cuts
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A noteworthy directional shift from Nick Clegg in his speech this morning. Instead of priming the us for "savage cuts," as he once did, the Deputy PM is now deemphasising the severity of what's to come:

"Some of the hyperbole I have heard is just preposterous – this idea, that somehow, it is back to the 1930s. After the spending round, we are still going to be spending £700bn of public money – more than we are now."

unites him with John Redwood

As understandable as Clegg's caution is over all this, it could prove counterproductive. In his column this morning, Ben Brogan quotes one minister thus: "If we have had a collective failure, it is that we have underplayed the scale of the problem." Many feel that it would be better to prepare the public for the worst.