Three days before the election, Cameron said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, "any cabinet minister … who comes to me and says ‘Here are my plans’ and they involve frontline reductions, they’ll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again". Yet £81bn in cuts now rain down on frontline services.
Would VAT rise? A month before the election, Cameron said: "We are cutting wasteful spending … our plans don’t involve an increase in VAT."
As for the NHS, "We will stop top-down reorganisations of the NHS," said the coalition agreement, yet now what health secretary Andrew Lansley calls his "revolution" rolls in [in England].
The coalition promise that "we will guarantee that health spending increases in real terms" has gone the same way.
Two months before the election, Cameron eulogised universal child benefit: "I wouldn’t change child benefit, I wouldn’t means test it, I don’t think that’s a good idea."
On education maintenance allowances, Michael Gove said, just before the election: "Ed Balls keeps saying that we are committed to scrapping EMA. I have never said this. We won’t." [Scrapped in England]
On tax credits, the promise was to cut them only for families on £50,000, but the budget book shows families with an income of just £30,000 lose all credits.
Liam Fox promised "a bigger army for a safer Britain", but it now loses 7,000 soldiers.
The list is long – prison for anyone carrying a knife; no cuts to the navy; keeping the child trust fund for the poorest third of families; no hospital closures; 3,000 more midwives; a two-year council tax freeze – and more. Bluster about bank bonuses, wellbeing, going green and family-friendly government were all deceptive conceits too.
Clegg is being rightly hammered for his broken promise on tuition fees but it seems the coalition just can't stop breaking promises.