Welcome to the real world. If you go to the country saying that you can form a credible Government you cannot shirk it when the chance comes. Nick Clegg would be betraying the voter if a real chance to implement Liberal Democrat policies was spurned to carry on as some kind of political awkward squad.
Labour, of course, are going to squeal like a stuck-pig. One of the more dishonest claims from them is of a majority "progressive" vote. If fails on the first test. Labour are anything but a progressive party. Labour has been a repressive and authoritarian Government and it is to their shame that local Labour politicians have tried to distance themselves from national policy whist simultaneously standing on the same platform. That is dishonest.
We saw the ridiculous situation where one of the Labour candidates was against Trident, campaigned against tuition fees and opposed the war in Iraq. She backed the 10:10 initiative whilst her colleagues in Parliament voted against it and saw not the slightest hypocrisy in her position. That's chasing power without principle.
And lets be clear. Lib Dems are not an anti-Tory party. We don't define ourselves by what we hate. Just because it is the only tactic Labour has left to scare the voter as they desert their natural supporters it doesn't mean that others are. Lib Dems are not Tory and neither are we Labour-lite, we are Liberal Democrats. The clue is in the name.
We never claimed to be a part of a progressive movement, that was Gordon Brown's shabby attempt to keep his job after being so comprehensively rejected. We were quite clear when campaigning. We are different. A Lib Dem vote was not and never was a vote to keep Gordon Brown in office.
What Labour politicians do not understand is that the liberal tradition exists in its own right. There are both Labour supporters and Tories who share some of these traditions and have chosen to stay in their own parties and argue from within, but the bottom line is that we have our own traditions and values which the majority of Labour members just don't understand.
Lib Dems oppose class-based politics. We believe in limiting state power when it has no role to play. We believe in devolving power to local levels. These are distinct matters of principle which is obviously why Labour are confused. They left their principles behind over a decade ago..
This is why, we oppose ID cards, storing DNA of innocent people and removing the right to trial by jury. It is why we believe in reducing income tax for the poor instead of doling out tax credits and our commitment to improving education outcomes for the poor and the restoration of a meritocracy. We don't have these aims because of a focus group report. It is because that's what we are.
Labour just doesn't get it. And I suspect they never will.