Nick Clegg has been credited with convincing the Tories to U-turn over their plans to cut housing benefit for those on Job Seekers’ Allowance – as Steve points out.
Presumably this is one of the (few) examples of how the Lib Dems would like the public to see them: moderators of otherwise more brutal and right-wing policies. I’m sure they will champion this as policy they have changed. This is the point of having Lib Dems in government, they will say.
A potentially compelling argument. But, let’s not forget that their decision to support and maintain in power a Tory government means they have made possible all of the policies that are being pursued. They are the enablers of the right-wing policies that they now want to claim they are moderating. It’s not an argument we should allow them to get away with.
Critics might say that the Lib Dems had a responsibility to help provide Britain with a stable government after the election. Perhaps. But they could have offered a supply and confidence deal, in the way many junior coalition partners do across Europe. This would keep the government in place, stable, and with the budget it needs (bad enough), but allow other measures to succeed on their merits or fail for the lack of them.