Which would his party prefer – help for students or poor children?
A key reason, I believe, why there have been just two changes of government during the past 30 years is that whoever is in power has so much control over the news agenda.
The ability, day in and day out, to make announcements that grab the headlines is awesome. Not only does it keep your people up-front apparently doing popular things but sophisticated scheduling of stories can often drown out difficult issues for the government.
We all remember how the NuLab machine operated and it’s becoming clearer by the day that the coalition is working in the same manner – and who could blame them? Politics is about power and remaining is absolutely central.
So what are we to make of Nick Clegg’s Â£7bn anti-poverty programme announced this morning just three days after the policy U-turn on student fees? What better way could there be for the Lib Dem leader to reassure his troops that there is a real up-side to being in coalition?
And how smart of the government’s media managers to ensure that it was Clegg making the announcement not one of the Tory ministers.
The former leaders who now say they are dissenting on student fees, Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell, were never able to make news like this. Clegg was.