Whether he drops the p-word or not, the arguments behind it are comfortable territory for Osborne. If you recall, he made a speech last year in which he argued that spending cuts and deficit reduction could, and should, be done precisely to protect the poor. And he has pushed the "progressive Conservative" case ever since. Then, it was partially about claiming ground that Labour thought was their own. Now, it's about reassuring Lib Dem backbenchers, as well as the public as a whole, about the government's intentions.
Will it work? Well, the move to raise personal allowances is certainly welcome, and should ease a few Lib Dem worries. And it's striking just how calm proceedings seem to have been over the last few days. But the potential remains for tension over everything from spending cuts to capital gains tax. Yes, the coalition has got a tough job on its hands today, quite aside from saving the economy.