George Osborne and his ministers once mocked the opposition for the goal they now boast of achieving.
The shadow chancellor remembers that it was fear of "Tory cuts" that handed Labour victory in 2001 and 2005, and denied the Conservatives a majority in 2010.
The Lib Dems are desperate to win anti-Tory tactical votes in seats such as Laws's.
The Chancellor can no longer declare that the UK is the fastest growing major economy.
The bottom 10 per cent of households pay 47 per cent of their income in tax. But they would gain nothing from the parties' plans.
The red-blue duopoly that had held for decades fractured as insurgent tribes invaded the pitch.
By insisting that a surplus of £23bn is necessary to reduce the national debt, the Chancellor has exposed himself to the charge that he is an ideologue.
The party has denied Osborne the chance to brand it irresponsible while also maintaining clear dividing lines on future cuts.
There is no sign of the updated Charter for Budget Responsibility that the Chancellor promised would be published by now.
Clegg and others would rather continue to do business with the Tories than with a Labour Party regarded as irredeemably tribal.