The media are wrestling with the conundrum that resentment against the Coalition was almost wholly focussed on the Lib-Dems, when arguably the Conservatives bore more responsibility. The debate has become ever more convoluted and further from the point.
Actually it’s quite simple.
Conservative voters, by and large, recognised the need for fiscal consolidation. Of course they’re concerned and worried about how it may affect them. We all are. But they’re getting very much what they expected.
Lib-Dems, on the other hand, have always been the soft-option party. They can afford in opposition to be nice to everyone. “Promise the punters Paradise” seems to be the strategy. They’ll offer different and incompatible commitments in adjacent constituencies — or even on adjacent doorsteps — confident that they’ll never have to deliver.
But now that they have a toe-hold in government, they’re getting a dose of reality. The chickens are coming home to roost.
So the Tory vote held up because the Coalition is delivering broadly what most Conservative voters expected. But erstwhile Lib-Dem voters have deserted the party in their millions, because in government, it could no longer live up to its cuddly image, nor deliver its wild promises. Simple, really. But it will take the Lib-Dems a very long time to recover, if they ever do.