Sketch: Vince Cable's brick holds more water than 'Nice' Clegg

IT WAS the stuff of nightmares. First the rude awakening early in the morning, then being dragged through the subterranean tunnels of London into a darkened basement to be beaten about the head with a brick.

But the Liberal Democrats did not want anybody to leave their manifesto launch without some bruises yesterday.

The brick – a 108-page manifesto – was a catalogue of cuts and reminders, and even more gloomy than the Bloomberg Office basement where it was presented.

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"The country is now significantly poorer than it was two years ago" – whack!

"The costs are going to have to be paid back" – whack!

"We have itemised 10 billion in cuts" – whack!

"This is not enough there will have to be more cuts" – whack!

Then as if the show was not freakish enough

… "I am the elephant man", purred Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, an expert in ugly truths.

"This (debt] is the elephant in the room that the other parties don't want to talk about. We don't think you can banish it, you have to confront it."

It was hard to know whether things were getting surreal or the pounding of the brick had just left us dazed.

Next, in strode the party's boss Nick "Honest" Clegg. As we flinched ready for more punishment he smiled. It was classic good cop, bad cop.

"It's all about fairness", he said offering us all a 700 tax break, which was certainly an improvement on a broken crown.

He had a philosophy he wanted to tell us about. "I believe that every single person is extraordinary and the tragedy is that too many people never get to fulfil their potential".

He wanted to put that right and stop the nasty parties "airbrushing out" the poor old elephant.

He's a nice man that Mr Clegg, it's just that most people seemed to have more respect for the grey one holding the brick.