As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see my party's policies put into effect. The only realistic way in which that can happen is to get Liberal Democrats into the Cabinet, or at least into the policy-formation loop. That has happened to an extent, with Liberal Democrat representation in Cabinet committees, but we cannot demand our rightful share of power until our seats in Parliament reflect more closely the votes we gained from the public.
A bit of soft-pedalling now is a price worth paying for proper representation later, and I support Paddy Ashdown's refusal to take his eye off the ball. If he is unsuccessful, then "constructive opposition" should cease, and Liberal Democrats should feel no inhibitions about drawing attention to the Stalinist tendencies of New Labour.
The Prime Minister should remember that no Labour government has ever served two full terms and the British public are fickle. It is worth his while to keep his potential coalition partners sweet.