Simon Carr: Coalition politics? He wanted it. He's got it. Enjoy!

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The Independent Online

And the dream of coalition politics is made real. This is going to be great.

The Labour adviser Lance Price gave us the first laugh of the day by advising Gordon Brown to "go with good grace". Where are they going to find a teacher to coach him through that? Think of the skills he'd need to acquire by Monday to pull that off. By Sunday afternoon they'd still be on Not Throwing Phones At the Queen.

Staying with good grace will be infinitely more difficult. "Ah, Mick – Nick, sorry – sit down. Not in that chair. In fact let's stand." This is the "dealing with people as equals" skill – and he hasn't got the NVQ.

He would have to answer the first question that Clegg would ask: "Have you any previous experience working constructively and on equal terms with a younger, fresher-looking Tory-type leader with greater popular appeal than yourself? Oh you have? And tell me, how did that work out?"

The Liberal Democrats would be the junior partners in a party headed by a leader rejected by the public, scorned by the media, and reviled by his party. He polls just above the toenail of Michael Foot. That's not the supporting role you look for, is it, in your first foray into government?

So, returning to Cameron's offer made yesterday, how do they turn that down? It was well constructed, generous in spirit, and embarrassingly public. This isn't a backroom deal.

The Tory leader is asking for "an open and trusting partnership" (some involuntary snorting) which will "implement key parts of their manifesto". The pupil premium, the low carbon economy (TBC), scaling back the "jobs tax", and all that civil liberties programme. That's boxing them in – do they want to be able to point at something and say, "We did that"?

Surely they'll support that until Labour have got the new leader in place. Then with the streets in flames as public sector workers "unleash hell" on the government, as promised, Nick can make a principled withdrawal towards Christmas.

"While I've always been totally clear in our decision to support the absolute need for savage cuts, I would never have pointed my finger like that when answering questions. That is totally against the spirit of our understanding, a total (and please make up the rest yourselves)..." So he can placate his restive, sandal-wearing rank and file by turning to Labour.

However, in the absence of Gordon, it's plus ça change. David Miliband turns the progressive cheek and invites them into coalition. They accept. But who is Chancellor? Joy! For it is Edward Balls.

When you think what Balls has done to his enemies in his own party, what would he do to Quivering Vince? Imagine the briefing, the shadow operations, the dark arts, the libels, the rumours, the slurs and smears that would be directed at the isolated, surrounded, cut-off Lib-Dem leadership.

So, every way they turn – it's halibut. Maybe they have a cleverer way of "acting in the national interest".

A couple of things struck me when Cameron was speaking. What he said was more interesting than when he said the same sort of thing before. It's the glow of office – the fact that there will be consequences when he speaks. Gordon has to look forward to the obverse of this.

Is it more humiliating for Gordon to resign – or to stand up leader of the opposition, to say things which no longer have import? He'll have to answer that by Monday, when the markets open. Lest sterling be used as a cheaper substitute for confetti at Greek weddings.

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