When news of the triple lock reached the consciousness of the political correspondents, some twelve or so years after it came into existence, there was a certain amount of hilarity. A recipe for delay and dithering, we were told. The markets would never wear it, others suggested. The idea that there should be some consultation was thought to be rather absurd.
And so, here we are. I have to say that the process is moving along quite smoothly so far - forget the actual decision, we're a fair way away from that. Of course, despite the meetings of the two negotiating teams, there is no formal proposal on the table yet, but that isn't something under our control, of course. The media are happily reporting on how Liberal Democrats are being consulted, how we are a democratic party.
And the Conservatives? Hmmm... David Cameron has apparently indicated that he wants a deal by the end of the weekend, yet the Conservative Parliamentary Party in the Commons is only due to meet on Monday evening. There appears to be no corresponding process of consultation, no means by which members can express their concerns except crossing swords via the medium of ConservativeHome. Given that it is owned by Lord Ashcroft, it has some influence perhaps, but it can be ignored.
And, if 86% of Conservative Party members polled would prefer the formation of a minority administration as opposed to a coalition with another party, I suspect that figure would be even higher if the words 'another party' were to be replaced by 'Liberal Democrats'. Admittedly, I suspect that those who read 'ConservativeHome' are less than entirely reflective of Party membership, but they are all that we can really 'see'.
It is reported that Lord Tebbit is demanding a full ballot of Conservative Party members (so much for the notion that a quick decision is needed to settle the markets...), and his views will resonate with the Conservative blogosphere.
They feel a sense of betrayal, a sense that this was an election that they could, and should, have won easily. Some of them blame David Cameron, some Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton. Some of them think that the campaign was not right-wing enough. They want to be heard, and a failure to give them that opportunity could be very damaging to the future unity of the Conservative Party.
Far be it from me to engage in schadenfreude, but it looks as though the authors of the Southport resolution creating the triple lock bequeathed us a process for just this sort of political development. I suspect that our political rivals only wish that they had been so prescient...