Let's dwell on the Labour leadership contest a second longer, to point its participants
in the direction of John Rentoul's column
Its central point – that Labour should "leave a door ajar" for Nick Clegg – should be self-evident to a party which has been forced out of power by a coalition. But, in
reality, Labour seems eager to ignore it. At best, there's a lazy assumption that the Lib Dems will one day divorce the Tories and quite naturally shack up with the lady in red. At
worst, there's outright hostility to Clegg and his fellow, ahem, "collaborators". Neither approach will do much to break the ties that bind the coalition partners together.
The absence of any real Lib Dem outreach on Labour's part is a bit like the absence of a cuts
candidate from their leadership race: something which may play well with the party faithful for now, but which could exclude Labour from any serious political debate in the years to come.
In which case, I'm sure that they will look to rectify the situation at some point. But when? If Labour delay this thought process until after their leadership election – and put
someone like Ed Balls in charge – then it would already be too late.