With the sure-footedness of a greased fish on an ice rink, Clegg leaps to the defence of the NHS and puts his party squarely between the Conservatives and the combined ranks of the health professionals and the general public - who are waking up to the meaning of the Tory plans for the destruction of the NHS.
Even as he points out the problems inherent in the Tory plans - following on from a Liberal Democrat conference resolution - the Tories are coming out in defence. John Redwood was smoothly sliding a stiletto between the DPM's shoulder blades this morning on the Today programme, silkily pointing out that when the programme was first put forward, Clegg, Burstow, Cable and Alexander all signed off on it, so it is a bit rich for them to complain now. He is, of course, spot on. Either the Liberal Democrats were asleep when they agreed to it - always a possibility - or they are now trying to curry favour with a public that has fallen spectacularly out of love with Nick and his gang.
The effect is that the Tories have shifted the focus onto the Liberal Democrats rather than the detail of the proposals, leaving the Liberal Democrats yet again providing human shields for the coalition leaders. Genius.