Alex Massie

Clegg Costs Cameron Dear

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OK, so the exit poll wasn't bonkers after all. And Cleggmania evaporated like so many other summer romances. But it's the Lib Dems, in many ways, not Labour who have cost Cameron his majority. Of the top fifteen Lib Dem held targets, the Tories seem to have won just five. Doubtless the Lib Dems were helped by a measure of tactical voting but also, of course, the reality that in many of these constituencies voters could as easily reject Labour by voting Liberal as by voting Conservative. The haggling here was over the details of change, not its necessity.

And now, with few hard feelings, Cameron is putting the ball in Clegg's court. Electoral reform is not, no matter what people may claim, a pressing issue. If Cameron offers Clegg a real deal can the Lib Dems really refuse it? The purity of opposition is all well and good but if you're given the chance of power can a serious party really refuse it, even if it demands a number of compromises, some of them unpalatable?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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