I do feel sorry for Danny Alexander. He’ll have been worked off his feet for the Budget due next week but his party then dispatches him to butter up a would-be donor – or, in this case, an undercover reporter from the Daily Telegraph. Not that he said anything incriminating, but the idea of him being sent to press the flesh of a donor who had delivered just £7,650 reflects their panic. (The Tories charge £50k to meet a quad member.) It doesn't show that the party is corrupt, just that it's desperate, as you might expect from its poll rating (above). I look at this desperation in my Daily Telegraph column today.
Power has brought the Lib Dems cash: it raised £8.2m last year, twice as much as it raised the year before the last election. But it’s a poor substitute for popularity, momentum and an agenda. Some 13pc of Brits think the moon landings were faked, but 7pc want to vote LibDem. They have lost almost two thousand councillors and two-thirds of their popular support. It didn’t have to be this way: the experience of the German Greens and the Scottish LibDems shows that if the junior coalition partner actually runs entire departments they can contest an election on a platform of leadership and competence. But if you put your MPs in a blender with those of the other party, you can't line up credible achievements. It’s the way Clegg did coalition that was the problem, not the fact that he did do it.