‘If President Obama can keep Republican Robert Gates as secretary of state for defence, does Britain have to forfeit the remarkable talent of David Miliband? Can the coalition afford to do without the passionate expertise of Andrew Adonis as it completes his quest to connect Britain's great cities with high-speed rail? Must we try to build the "big society" without the help of James Purnell, who saw that the spirit of reform was leaving Labour long before anyone else? I hope not. Their membership of Labour should not bar them from playing their part. Let us make this the reform coalition and welcome all those who want to build a better Britain.’
A small band of centrists have long dreamed of building lasting hegemony through a cross-party alliance. Boles is part of the movement - favouring a pact with the Lib Dems and broadening the coalition into Labour's 'sane' wing. As a convinced Cameroon, he may be No.10’s sanctioned outrider. In which case, it’s worth considering his offer. David Miliband, I’m told, will never bite. But Purnell and Adonis, both free from Westminster and the party machine, who can say?