What a joy it is to watch Ed Miliband contort and twist so that he can offer a hand of
friendship to the Lib Dems. It has been a three-act show, so far. First, during the Labour leadership contest, he described the Lib Dems as a "disgrace to the traditions of liberalism," adding that, "I can see the
death of the Liberal party to be honest". Then, he said that he would
actually work with those dying Liberals, but only if they ditched Nick Clegg first. And then today, in an interview with the Independent, he suggests that Clegg might be able to
stay on, after all. As turnarounds go, this one is predictable and sensible – but it’s no less amusing for that.
The Lib Dem response
has once again come from Tim Farron; almost certainly for the same reasons as before. And it is not
especially welcoming. Indeed, Farron concentrates on an issue that will be enervating many Lib Dems at the moment: the slow progress of the AV Bill through the Lords. As he puts it:
"This is Jekyll and Hyde politics: he flutters his eyelashes in sugar-and-spice interviews trying to woo the Liberal Democrats and at the same time he orchestrates his unelected
dinosaurs in the Lords to obstruct real reform."
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be all sorts of LibLabbery in future. But it does suggest that, thanks to his Lords, Miliband is losing ground in an area where he might have hoped to cooperate with Clegg & Co.