Listening to Mr Clegg this morning, I was struck by the central paradox. He said the most important thing the government was doing was a short term fix to cut the deficit. He rightly argued that getting on top of the deficit was essential for economic growth and stability in the future. At the same time he wanted to stress that the government has just restored the earnings link for pensioners, and introduced more spending in schools for certain pupils through the enhanced pupil premia. Good news is higher spending, yet if you are serious about getting the deficit down you need to spend less.
In an age of deficit reduction politicians have to find things other than higher public spending which please voters. We need a culture where giving voters greater freedoms is a good in itself, and where we talk about the results of public spending rather than the quantities of it. Our political language does not seem yet to have accommodated the good news of doing more for less. Cutting bureaucracy by removing requirements is a way to get people on side and cut the deficit at the same time.