Nick Clegg is turning up to the Budget today, which is an improvement on the Autumn Statement, which he bunked off in order to hang out in Cornwall with Lib Dems trying to get re-elected. He’s even got his own Lib Dem alternative Budget tomorrow. This may mean his party doesn’t get much of a hearing until 24 hours after the main event, though inevitably various Cabinet ministers will be out and about trying to take credit for various measures.
The Lib Dems want to persuade people to vote for them on the basis that they would stop either party indulging in its worst excesses: the Tories wouldn’t create a fair recovery, while Labour would wreck it. So the party will spend much of its statement explaining why it thinks the proposals that George Osborne wanted to put in the Budget but couldn’t are unfair. We will also get a glimpse of the ways in which the Lib Dems would restrict a future Tory government, and that will be very interesting as it may well be that the ‘1930s’ spending plans decried by Labour never actually happen anyway because the Lib Dems won’t sign up to them.