At the weekend conference of the Liberal Democrats, leader Nick Clegg called for substantial tax cuts, and a shrinking in the size of the state. He says there should be a £20 billion cut in annual public spending. That's much more than the Tories could dream of suggesting. It is still only 3% of spending.
Yes the same Liberal Democrats that last election called for a new top tax rate of 50% with a 1% increase in the middle tax rate. He is facing a fight, as the Lib Dems have been infected for years by socialists who liked it leftwing alternative to New Labour, and its opposition to military action abroad. He wants to dramatically cut tax credits, subsidies and programmes that are wasteful, like ID cards.
Now this isn't libertarian at all, he wants to cut the lower rates of tax not the top rate, he doesn't want to privatise or get the state out of health and education, but it IS a vision of less state and of abandoning government programmes that fail. For a party that was all about more taxes and more state spending three years ago, this is an encouraging step forward.
The Daily Telegraph is cheering him on with its Saturday editorial:
"We wish him the best of luck. Not only is there the possibility of a hung Parliament but it is also high time that Labour and the Conservatives felt the heat of a third party boldly proposing what most people in this country want: smaller, simpler, better government."
Labour doesn't believe in this, the Conservatives are too scared to believe in it again, could it be that the Liberal Democrats are, for once, the party of less government in the UK?