The Lib Dem manifesto launch was typically Liberal Democrat. Nick Clegg offered a robust defence of the coalition declaring simply that it ‘worked’. He argued that it had proved the superiority of multi-party government and said that in any future coalition the Lib Dems would be the Tories’ heart and Labour’s brain. This was a rather more pointed version of his refrain that the Liberal Democrats will be the Tories’ heart and Labour’s head.
But what Clegg wanted voters to think about today is who they want governing alongside Cameron and Miliband. His pitch was that neither party will win a majority so the question for voters is do you want Ukip, the SNP or the Lib Dems as their partners in government? It is a choice that is meant to make voters pick the Lib Dems. But I suspect that the Tories will be delighted to hear Clegg amplifying their warnings about the dangers of Miliband and Salmond running Britain together.
Interestingly, afterwards a senior Liberal Democrats admitted that how much influence they would have on the policy direction of a future coalition would depend on how many seats they won. This might sound like a statement of the obvious but previously Liberal Democrats have argued that in any coalition deal they would want the same level of influence that they have now regardless of how many MPs they were bringing to the table.