Nick Clegg was careful in his interview on the Marr show today to leave the door open to a Lib-Lab coalition – which bookmakers regard as more likely (4-1) than another Con-Lab coalition (6-1). It was interesting that so much of his description of coalition referred to himself:
He told Sophie Raworth:
‘I’ve never, ever seen any of this as an issue about what one individual thinks of another individual. It is really all about what the British people think about the parties who are asking for their votes. David Cameron and I said lots of disobliging things before the last general election, disagreeing with things you’ve just highlighted. We still work together in a coalition government. That is coalition government.
‘The attitude of working together in the national interest with politicians you don’t necessarily agree with, because that’s what the British people want you to do is the attitude I’ve always had and will always have in the future. You can take it as a yes that I will always seek to play a responsible role in making sure that this country is properly governed.’
Harriet Harman has released a none-too-enthusiastic response to the Clegg interview, saying:
‘Nick Clegg will be judged on what he does, not on what he says. He chose to become part of a Tory-led Government, joining David Cameron in his failed economic plan, in cutting 5,000 nurses and 15,000 police, and in trebling tuition fees and increasing VAT after promising not to do so. His record is the Tory record – one of failure – and it is on this he’ll be judged at the election.’
Currently it is in Labour’s interests to call for his head, or at least attack his decision to go into coalition. Either way, even though Clegg tried to draw parallels between the way he and Cameron forgot their pre-election insults when they started working together with a future partnership with Ed Miliband’s party, it is very difficult to imagine him moving as Deputy Prime Minister from one coalition government with one party to the next coalition with another party.