I was looking back at the poster launched by the Lib Dems at the start of the election campaign less than three months ago and, from my own moral compass, I feel something of a hypocrite having delivered leaflets with this message on only to find three months later that a Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury was presiding over the "VAT Bombshell" the Lib Dems were warning about.
Taking a more measured view, I do find it hard to argue against a large chunk of the budget today. Quite clearly Labour have been running this country on the basis of chucking everything on to a credit card, which in many ways was the reason this country got in to such a mess in the fist place with the proliferation of cheap credit and a lack of control on spending and lending.
However, the fact that the Lib Dems are now having to share power ought to make Lib Dem strategists think twice in future elections about the kind of messages they want to put out during an election and to what extent these campaigns (as in the VAT Bombshell posters) cheapens politics. I know all parties do it, but we need to be honest enough to say we won't in future.
For those who are unaware of my stance towards the coalition, I have been clear in my view (and expressed this to MPs, the printed press and in Radio interviews) that I am no supporter of the coalition deal with the Tories. I don't want to go over the old ground of this, but I thought I should make this clear.