The coalition go on the Churchill diet

The “wholesome diet” of eating your own words.

Paul Waugh reports Chris Huhne's quip that coalition government means adopting "the extremely nutritious diet of eating your words".

If the line sounds familiarm it's because it is. David Cameron used almost exactly the same phrase at his first press conference with Nick Clegg. Asked about the coalition, he said:

[I]f it means swallowing some humble pie, and if it means eating some of your words, I cannot think of a more excellent diet.

But both were borrowing from Winston Churchill. It was the British Bulldog who first declared:

Over a long political career I have been forced to eat many words. On the whole I found it a wholesome diet.

Let's wait and see if the Lib Dems, who warned of the Tories' "VAT bombshell" during the election, are happy to eat their words on Tuesday.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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The NS Podcast #222: Queen's Speech Special

The New Statesman podcast.

Helen and Stephen discuss what was left out, watered down and generally squished around in the Queen's Speech - from prison reform to fox hunting - and what kind of stage it sets for the coming parliamentary term. Will Labour's stance on immigration have to change? And what Brexit deal could secure a parliamentary majority? Clue: it's a royal mess.

Quotes of the episode:

Helen on domestic violence: "The big lesson of the last couple of weeks is that the involvement of domestic violence in Terror has finally made (slightly more men) take it slightly more seriously. As actually now it becomes part of an anti-radicalisation process."

Stephen on Conservative strategy: "If you look at the back end of the Conservative government in the 90s: when your parliamentary situation is rocky, the best way of dealing with that is just for parliamentary not to sit all that much. Don't bring the pain."

Helen on Brexit: "There is an interesting complacency about the dominance and attractiveness of the British economy [...] whereas actually our economy has recovered quite badly and our productivity is still quite low. I wouldn't be that smug about the British economy."

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