The approach that the Liberal Democrats take to
"http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7069203/the-trouble-with-todays-social-care-report.thtml">social care over the next few weeks and months will be the best guide we have to how they now
view the future of the coalition.
If, in the coming all party talks, they effectively ally with Labour and try to score points off the Tories by suggesting that their coalition partners are ‘too mean’ to fund a solution
to the problem then it will be apparent that they have moved fully into distancing mode and are preparing to position themselves as the party who restrained the Tories. This would imply a Lib Dem
exit from the coalition sometime well before the 2015 election.
But if they are the ones trying to find a funding model that would be acceptable to both coalition parties then that will suggest that they are sticking to Nick Clegg’s model of trying to
portray themselves as a party of government, prepared to take difficult decisions. The logic of this position is that the Lib Dems stay in coalition right up until May 2015 to show that they can
So far, the signs are that the Lib Dem leadership is trying to take the latter course. But the party at large, whose heart still beats on the left, may well succeed in pushing Clegg – as it
did over the NHS reforms – into a more oppositionist position.