At Prime Minister's Questions today Gordon Brown triumphantly told the Chamber there would be a 0% rise in spending. Is 0% a rise?! Desperate not to say cut, reduction, decline, diminution, decrease or anything that implies a lower level of spending than now, he was forced into modern form of Newspeak.
Yet, the more than this battle of the cuts with the Tories continues the longer the debate on the real decisions will be denied. That debate needs to be about what rather than if. Nick Clegg has offered up serious suggestions like ID cards, trident replacement and tax credit revision. Yet the others refuse to discuss or debate. They need to start acting like leaders rather than followers.
If we don't have a debate on these issues now with the public they will be denied the opportunity to express their view about what should go. If the decisions and debate are delayed until after the election the public will be left out of the debate.
David Cameron and Gordon Brown need to understand that this debate is not about them and what party advantage they can gain from the turmoil. It's about the shape of our country and its public services.