I notice that in a letter to Lib Dem members Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes make no mention of the VAT increase but do list a series of Lib Deb policies incorporated in the Budget. You cannot get everything you want in this world, especially in a Coalition, is their message. I am reminded of the correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and Mrs Campbell. Gushingly she writes of how wonderful their children would be with his brains and her beauty, to which Shaw responds but supposing these children had her brains and his beauty! From my own experience of negotiating on policy matters with Liberals I can appreciate Tory difficulties. Lib Dems have policies for everything: some worthy , others aspirational, with a fair modicum of the silly and absurd. Liberals make a basic and fundamental mistake. When you list these policies you encounter two overwhelming and infantile errors: they cannot possibly be considered of equal weight, for while all policies might be regarded as equal some are more equal than others; and they are often contradictory, if you do one thing you cannot do another. Here is a question for Lib Dem activists. Do you think that the electorate, and especially your bit of it, will ever forgive you for the VAT rise and the attack on the Welfare State? Well I shall anticipate the reply – you must be joking!