The recent polls showing the Lib Dems soaring in the polls (One poll put them in first place!) means that the party is now the target party for the Tories. On top of that, the Lib Dems are weak on three key issues.
The first is Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Clegg has hit a hot button with the cost of Trident, but he’s failed to follow up with details as to how the Lib Dems will keep nuclear capacity with less cost. Unilateral nuclear disarmament is not where the British people are, and he’s left the party vulnerable to that charge.
Europe is the second. It’s easy for the Tories and their media mates to set the Lib Dems up as Euro Fanatics. Clegg could kill the issue by promising a British referendum on EU membership, something even Cameron hasn’t done, and something which will put the Tory leader under huge pressure.
The Gordon Question. The big stick for the Tories is whether a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for Labour. Clegg needs to firm up on what he’ll do in a hung parliament. Perhaps say that it would be untenable to keep Gordon Brown as prime minister in that situation?
The stakes could not be higher, because if Labour and/or the Lib Dems end up in a majority, then the Alternative Vote could be on the way in, and that means that it will be impossible for the Tories to win a future election without appealing to a larger section of the British people, something they have failed to do since the mid 1970s. At her height even Mrs Thatcher failed to convince less than 44% of them to vote for her. The Tories don’t like having to bring the little people along with them.