What began as a coalition of expediency is maturing into a pact of principle – or
at least that’s what Cameron and Clegg would have you believe. Of course, relations may sour and enormous efforts are being made to preserve Cameron and Clegg’s public cordiality.
Journalists are being briefed that plans are in progress to enable Cameron and Clegg to speak at each others’ party conferences.
It will be little more than a public relations exercise if it goes ahead, and an extremely hollow one in all probability. What are they going say? It’ll be a cartoonist’s dream, as
Clegg is politely applauded by the contemptuous Colonels, and Cameron, shandy in hand, schmoozes the socks and sandals brigade.
On the other hand, it illustrates what James meant by Cameron’s team being convinced
that a coalition was the election’s best possible result. Clegg’s politics are somewhere between beguiling and maddening – his income tax reforms are inspired, his attitudes to
immigration are obtuse. But, by his own admission, he is no social democrat. Many left-leaning Tories have caught yellow fever – I’ve lost count of the number of recent converts
to the Orange Book. They hope the Liberals, shorn of their social democratic wing, could transform the balance of British politics in favour of a centre right progressive coalition.