Heaven forbid that the Tories and LibDems end up in coalition - but the Guardian asked me to write a piece war-gaming what would happen if they did. The result is here
. I really do believe it would be a short-lived calamity because no one would be playing for the long-term. The Westminster system does not handle coalitions, and hung parliaments lead to second elections. From day one of any Lib-Con coalition, everyone would have an eye on that second election. The Tories would want to accuse the LibDems of recklessly pulling the plug, the LibDems would be briefing against the Tories making out that they were the only competent ones in the coalition. But to this, we must add the dimension that James Forsyth outlined in his political column in the current edition of the magazine: leadership pressures.
Under the latest polls, Cameron would fail to win an outright majority. This could well invite a leadership challenge. The polls suggest that Nick Clegg would go from 62 MPs to (as he would put it) no more than 30. That means Chris Huhne, he of the lean and hungry look, would be on manouevres. And Labour will never stop trying (and, I suspect) failing to get rid of Brown. Result? A coalition that would last as long as a Britney Spears marriage. This is why it is so important that Cameron wins outright. The alternative is not power-sharing: it's chaos. And with our national finances dancing on the precipice, it's a chaos that we just can't afford.
PS. Sam Brittan from the FT has written about why it would not lead to chaos - subscribers can read it here.