It sounds as though it could be a major talking point at the LibDem spring conference in Birmingham this weekend, where it may not meet with universal acclaim among party members.
The LibDem leader is back in “savage cuts” territory, by arguing that the deficit should be dealt with only by spending cuts and no tax rises, which outflanks Cameron and Osborne on the right. (Nelson contrasts that with a Tory approach of 80% cuts to 20% tax rises ratio, and Labour 66% to 33%).
Age, he claims, has taught him the point of Maggie Thatcher. And, apparently, he now seems to see her as something of an inspiration, praising her for her victory over the trade unions.
Clegg may well be decisively outflanking the voters on their right too. (Left Foot Forward had an interesting discussion of this question of the tax/spending balance last Autumn; and this month showed public fear of spending cuts may outweigh fears of the deficit).
The timing of the high-profile interview suggests that the LibDem leader tends to seek sharper public definition through the Blairesque tactic of aggravating many of his own activists.
It would also seem to signal that Clegg has his sights rather more on anti-Tory defence in the south-east and south-west than in taking the urban fight to Labour.
Last Autumn, Clegg retreated on the “savage cuts” language which horrified shadow cabinet colleagues, while Steve Webb swiftly dismissed the leader’s desire to means test child benefit.
I wonder if the oppose all tax rises line will survive.
Source: Liberal Conspiracy
And there goes the last bit of "Oh well, at least the Lib Dems are ahead of the Tories for this seat" relief I had. Bugger.