It was very simple: the Tories are responsible for all that’s bad and the Liberal Democrats are benevolent. First, Hughes dissociated the Liberals from tax rises:
"I hope that the chancellor's hearing the voices that says VAT is not the right tax to change in the budget next week."
Contrast that with a coalition policy that is popular: reducing MPs pension entitlements. Naturally, Hughes presents Nick Clegg as the author of the policy:
"I'm quite clear that we will not be able to continue that regime and Nick [Clegg] has made that absolutely clear...it is unfair and unreasonable."
Clegg has said that, but so too has David Cameron - last summer. Hughes must protect the Lib Dems from the unpopularity of a necessarily austere government. To do so, he will tell half lies at any opportunity.