‘You’re welcome to each other,’ will be the retort of most Tories. But Miliband’s pass is significant. The coalition agreement promised to wait for the Browne Review. But the agreement is no longer sacrosanct. With both eyes on his wavering fans, Cable has reintroduced tuition fees, the Lib Dem’s discarded bugbear, under the superficial pretext that there must be mature and wide-ranging debate about absolutely everything. Labour is far too adept not to exploit the coalition’s very obvious split over university funding.
Labour will dig in for a long campaign of attrition: every Lib Dem MP in the last parliament signed a petition calling for their abolition. Compromise is the nature of coalition, but compromise is not found in unworkable solutions.