What if Gordon Brown were to refuse to talk to the Lib Dems, and then were to meet the new parliament at the head of a minority Labour government, in order to present a Queen’s Speech that was organised around great big chunks of the Lib Dem manifesto — including generous dollops of all four “steps to a fairer Britain”: “fair taxes”, “a fair chance for every child”, “a fair future”, and “a fair deal”, with the last to include PR along the lines of the Single Transferable Vote?
In those circumstances, would the Lib Dems dare to vote him down? And wouldn’t the Tories basically be snookered? And wouldn’t we get pretty much all the benefits of the “progressive alliance” that the Polly Toynbees of the world fantasise about without any of the major difficulties (i.e., having the Lib Dems as part of a coalition)?
It might not be the best way forward for the Labour Party. I can see a strong argument for making sure that the Party ends up in opposition. And obviously just having the Lib Dems vote with the Labour government doesn’t quite solve all the problems of parliamentary arithmetic. But if Brown decided he wanted to stay as Prime Minister, why not do it this way? It’d certainly be fun to watch.