The Lib Dems have always been a pushmepullyou party with a 'progressive' wing (leftwing, that is), and what I would call a woolly wing of failed Tories like its current leader. Well, while the Clegg end has been talking to David Cameron, we now find that the Simon Hughes end of this most unnatural of animals has been quietly talking to Labour at the same time. And now they've secured a vague promise from the man who lost the general election, Gordon Brown, to stand down - when it suits him, though, naturally not the electorate who just told him to piss off - and in the process, judging by the sudden outpouring of new soundbites from Labour ministers, - who are, incredibly, and thanks to what increasingly looks like a stitch-up - still 'ministers' making policy and spending money but without a mandate to do so - given Labour a sniff of a chance to seize back power.
Well, they're jeopardising any chance of a deal with the Tories, the only legitimate outcome possible save a Conservative minority government. They're also jeopardising economic stability and the legitimacy of this parliament before it's even begun. I'll tell you something else, if they keep on down this path, the Tories will (rightly) just walk away. It's grubby stuff, this. Judging by the comments of Alistair Campbell (yes, old potty mouth is still there, plotting and scheming) which nearly led to a fight on live television between him and Adam Boulton, what we could be seeing here is effectively a slow motion coup and it is impossible to see how it can be stopped.
I feel I'll be getting bloody angry very soon. You should be planning for that possibility too. This can only get worse. For instance, should the defeated Labourists get the backing of the Libdums, by bribing them with whatever they want, they could deliver PR in a shotgun bill, without consulting the electorate. The next election would lead to a permanent Lib-Lab coalition. It would be as though this election had never happened, which is exactly what Brown would love. You can imagine the left salivating away right now with him at the prospect. But not all of them. Tom Harris spoke a lot of sense on Radio 4 this evening, saying that on the Labour side, there are truly 'honourable' members who do not support PR and would not vote for it. He also said a deal with the Yellows would not work. Let's hope he's right on both counts.
For the Liberal Democrats, if they do carry on down this path, they will be signing their own political death warrant. Already, it is crystal clear that there are forces in Clegg's party he can't bring over, and who care far more about their own party than they do for the national interest. But Clegg cannot have his cake and eat it, or he will choke. He has to get tough with the Simon Hugheses and Don Fosters of his party and tell them to shut up - in the national interest. You know what? I don't think he's strong enough after his rubbish general election. So he might not have a choice in the end. But if the left of his party ends up victorious, and installs Brown/Labour in power, and keep the winners of the general election out, they will never be forgiven. There'll be another general election eventually and they will be obliterated.
Last thing, does Gordon Brown actually understand what an election is? All evidence thus indicates a negative answer to that question. Don't trust a word that comes out of his gawping gob. Go in September? You are having a laugh. I told you, he would have to be removed at gunpoint.
We took a step closer to that unthinkable scenario today.