And yet on Channel 4 News last night, the health secretary, Andrew Lansley,was said not to be giving any interviews. At first sight this is a preposterous position to take for a government needing to mould what will be overwhelmingly negative public opinion. But not to worry – a LibDem minister was on hand to promote the reforms instead.
This is a cunning strategy. Not only do the Tories get to implement this programme of cuts and market-based reforms without compromise but they also have the Lib Dems to sell it all for them. This way the junior partner in the coalition gets its ego boosted — hey we’re in power! — while being inextricably linked with the most brutal and controversial reforms, reforms it will never be able to deny supporting.
As each day passes, so it will be increasingly difficult for the LibDems to explain to voters what it is that makes them different from Conservatives. And without a point of difference, they have nothing to sell to the electorate.
The Tories have them in a deadly embrace.