Mind you, after the way the Liberal Left and its old guard have behaved over the past two days, David Cameron would be well within his rights to conclude that a party like Nick Clegg's outfit is unfit for office and declare that for the long term, political good of the country, he's going it alone - and then dare the Lib Dems to side with Labour in bringing down his government. Cameron would be thinking "bring that on" - and the mauling Labour and, especially, the Liberals would receive at the general election that was triggered. The Lib Dems have been that bad over the past few days; they've been that shabby.
Others have already posted this idea for an outcome in the comments on this blog and on their own blogs at one time or another. At first, my own naive good will must have clouded my judgment. However, the veil has been lifted, but not just from my eyes: if the Lib Dems are that treacherous when they're engaging in coalition/cooperation talks, just what would they be like with a bit of power? It doesn't bear thinking about, not least because maybe, after all, such a coalition would be worse than treacherous, it would be futile. It could hardly be the 'stable coalition with a working majority governing in the national interest' now, would it? It would be toxic, and the Tories might actually be mad to contaminate themselves with it just for the sake of a few months of ineffective governing.
Still, having said all that, I certainly don't blame Cameron for any of this, unlike some on the Tory right and a few heavyweights of yesteryear, like Norman Tebbit. Cameron had to try, and he's conducted himself with magnificent integrity all the way through. And people will notice that. They have noticed it. Whatever happens, he is the winner from here on in. And besides, you don't blame the victim for being stabbed in the back, unless you prefer a particularly bloody brand of Machiavellian politics. The perp always takes the wrap (ask Menzies Campbell).
The British people will not be forgiving. They're the real 'victims' of the Liberals' two faced, self-interested double-dealing, and the Labour delusionals who just can't accept that they lost the argument and just can't take 'no thank you' (or words to that effect) for an answer.
So perhaps we will have to ask the question again after all. Well, if so, the sooner the better. So be it.