"The Liberals I think are closer to us on tax and public services, there's obviously the possibility of people working in common harmony. But equally we've got party politics that come in the way. I think our policies, you know, appeal to Liberal voters because, you know, we're for alternative vote system, we're for reform of the House of Lords... and equally at the same time we've got policies on the environment and we've got policies on civil liberties which are not dissimilar to them."
it is abundantly clear that we've taken the first key step towards credibility, i.e. the ugly sisters are talking about Cinderella.
However, in the same way that David doesn't really get it, it is clear that Gordon doesn't either. Sadly, it's worse for Gordon though, as at least Dave has had someone check out what we believe in first. Oh yes, he may not actually be convincing, but he at least knows which buttons to push.
Where to start with Gordon? Let's start with the easy one. We aren't 'the Liberals'. We haven't been since 1988 and, given that you were elected to Parliament in 1983, doubtless opposed by an SDP/Liberal Alliance candidate, you really ought to know better. If you want a snog, getting the girl's name right is a prerequisite.
Alternative vote? No, not really. In fact, not at all. Reform of the House of Lords? After twelve years of opportunity, with a solid majority in the Commons and support in the Lords from the Liberal Democrat benches if required? What were you waiting for? But civil liberties? For heavens sake, man, don't you remember more Criminal Justice Acts than I want to remember, the right to trial by jury, ninety day detention? If you don't, we do.
There is a tremendous irony here, in that in terms of the pursuit of a social and constitutional agenda, we could and should have more in common with the Labour Party. And yet, by their word and deed, they have created an image of a political force more akin to the Conservatives in their thinking on such issues than ourselves. In terms of international co-operation, on Europe, on local government and civic engagement, the Labour Party has consistently taken positions that make liberals, be they economic, social or a bit of both, deeply uncomfortable and distrusting.
It does seem though, that both sides are preparing the ground for coalition talks in the event of a hung Parliament. It may be Labour's only hope of hanging on, and it may be the Cameroons' means of salvation if they can't gain a working majority. But if there is dancing to be done, I'm perfectly happy to sit out a few numbers before picking a partner.