The Lib Dems are desperate to win anti-Tory tactical votes in seats such as Laws's.
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 party reaches the nadir prophesied by Chris Huhne in 2010.
The red-blue duopoly that had held for decades fractured as insurgent tribes invaded the pitch.
Clegg and others would rather continue to do business with the Tories than with a Labour Party regarded as irredeemably tribal.
The two-against-one dynamic harms the Tories while exposing Clegg's party to the charge of hypocrisy.
Despite its worsening poll ratings, the party remains confident of holding most of its 56 seats.
The party won just 0.9 per cent of the vote. But it remains confident that it can win where it is incumbent.
Both of the main parties see political advantage in going it alone if they win in 2015.
The unmistakable impression left by the Lib Dem leader's speech was that he is preparing to depart the stage.