And on Tuesday both Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg went further, arguing that austerity was not an end in itself but a means to an end of improving the economy and making life easier for people at home. In other words, a hint of sunshine amid the gloom.
"Austerity alone does not create growth," Mr Clegg said. It is a necessary but not sufficient step. But the end, what we are absolutely dedicated towards, is creating jobs, creating prosperity, creating investment, creating opportunity, creating optimism and hope in our country."