"cuts that are savage and bold"
he knows that the savage cuts are likely to affect his MPs facing that rising blue tide.
However, he also knows that there are potential opportunities to take Labour seats by enlisting Tory voters to vote LibDem as a tactical vote, so the calculation might be that the losses to the Tories will be offset by gains from Labour and these tilts to the right are worth the effort - even if the party isn't happy. The danger, of course, is that by tilting too far, you narrow the gap to make the differences between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats entirely insignificant, a gap that has narrowed so far that Clegg felt that he had to attack the Tories, rejecting a call for co-operation and calling Cameron a 'conman' and a 'phoney.' Correct, of course, but if the gap is really so small, Clegg has to wonder why people should vote for the Tory-wannabes rather than the real thing.
The Liberal Democrats are the Tesco Value Conservative Party.