Sometimes, it’s hard not to feel rather sorry for the Liberal Democrats. After the public relations disaster of Nick Clegg’s toe-curling apology on tuition fees last week, the party faithful have gathered in Brighton only to be battered by violent storms. The Lib Dem leadership was hoping to pilot a course to sunnier political climes and calmer economic waters. But, thus far, the policy proposals emerging give little grounds for optimism on either count.
If the Conservative side of the coalition is insufficiently bold on supply-side reforms, their Lib Dem partners often seem incapable of comprehending how such reforms could bring growth to a sluggish economy at all. The Lib Dems’ default position remains one of old-fashioned demand management, and often comes with a fairly hefty price tag attached.