An intriguing insight from Tim Montgomerie, about some potential Lib-Con love after the next election:
“I understand that a group of shadow ministers believe that one of Tony Blair’s bigger strategic mistakes was to row back on co-operation with the Liberal Democrats when he won such a large Commons majority in 1997. These shadow ministers believe that – contrary to Labour’s ‘under-delivery’ to the LibDems – the Conservatives should deliver more in practical co-operation in government than they promise in opposition.
The discussion is not of ministerial positions – although there might be some significant appointments to policy reviews – but of working groups on issues of shared interest. Action on civil liberties and on green issues are on the table.” If this kind of thing goes ahead, then it’s worth looking out for whether it affects the Clegg-Cable partnership. Nick Clegg has always been somewhere on the right of the Lib Dem spectrum, and seems amenable to pairing up with the Tories. Whereas Vince Cable seems to save his most vituperative criticism for George Osborne, and leans much more naturally towards Labour. Given Cable’s exalted status in the party, there’s certainly potential for some kind of split.
As for the Tories and their wider strategy, shacking up with the Lib Dems makes a whole load of sense. Not only would it isolate Labour, but it meets calls for bipartisanship-in-government to deal with the economic crisis.