Simon Carr: Stuck in the middle of a frenzied vacuum

Sketch: News just in. Nick Clegg has left his house. He is wearing a tie
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The Independent Online

"I'm standing here outside Downing Street waiting for nothing to happen, and it's incredible how everything's not happening at once. It's a continuous torrent of inactivity. It's a maelstrom of stagnacity! The dizzying slowness of non-events is predicted to continue until Tuesday or Wednesday.

"Adam, this absence of anything happening, how would you describe it? As a lacuna? But Jeremy, can you hear me? You've been speaking to inside sources who find it less of a lacuna and more of a hiatus, is that so? Vernon Bogdanor has called it a constitutional interstice, is that going too far? Oh, you say he didn't call it that but you just love saying his name?

"News just in, something's happening now, we're getting reports just coming in, Nick Clegg has left his house. He is wearing a tie. A what? A tie, the leader of the Liberal Democrats is wearing a tie.

What does that mean?

Back to our newsroom, panel of Olly, Danny, Fatty and Chatty: Nick Clegg is wearing a tie! "Apparently, sources say, the tie-wearing leader of the Liberal Democrats has been urged by his party to do nothing. But back to Downing Street!"

Some cabinet ministers came to visit. And the PM crossed the road to the Foreign Office. Never in the field of human news gathering has so much comment, observation and interpretation been generated by so many from so little.

Gordon is said to have "ranted" at Nick Clegg on the phone when Nick suggested he resign. Gordon's people suggest it was amiable. Both interpretations may be true. ("What was ****ing ranting about it ****?")

The ingenuity of Gordon's supporters is very impressive. He has a moral duty to form a government because fewer people voted against the winning party and more people... I lose the gist of it.

Michael Gove was on the Marr show with Paddy Ashdown. The latter had previously ruled out working with the Tories but now: "Our instincts go one way and the mathematics go the other." He also referred to the coalition virtues of "respect and congeniality". Ah, yes, good old Congeniality Brown.

And when asked about the importance of tribalism in politics, Gove said: "No one knows more about that than Paddy Ashdown who brought the tribes of Bosnia together". Ashdown purred with pleasure. Respect AND congeniality!

But what happens to Nick Clegg in a coalition? What position does he take? Home Secretary? Isn't that a little humble for a leader? You can see Chris Huhne as home secretary, and he'd probably be better than Chris Grayling – but what position would Nick have?

The strongest likelihood? Any formal coalition destroys the Lib-Dems quickly. While "confidence and supply" breaks them up slowly.

But back to Downing Street.

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