Here’s what I think. Cameron can’t do a deal on electoral reform. He’s too weak right now and his new Hannan-style MPs won’t let him. Boris is salivating. Nick Clegg can’t do a proper deal with the Tories because his MPs, and most members, won’t let him do that either. And I doubt he want to anyway. Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg’s parties and members are in many cases on the same page and together we have 315 MPs. Until now, I assumed that if Cameron got close then the DUP would see him through. But he’s not quite close enough. I spent a year in Northern Ireland once, and I got to know a (very) little about how politics there works. The SDLP and the single Alliance member will support a Labour-Lib Dem coalition. And now I think the DUP, looking for a new leader, will put Nothern Ireland and their budget there first. Many number of the DUP are solid, working class folk. They don’t want to be cutting services to their constituents in Northern Ireland because they’ve cut a deal with the wrong party in the UK. Their opponents there would punish them and constituency politics there are still volatile. So the DUP will see the wisdom of taking a Labour-Lib Dem arrangement over the threshold. And Sinn Fein will continue to stay away from Westminster.
And for anyone who think Gordon and Nick can’t work together – forget it. Clegg knows no party can change the leader of another – it’d be the end of the latter. And Brown can certainly work with Clegg. Clegg cleverly put vote share at the heart of the equation, so he can do a deal with Gordon in perfectly good faith. Which is why Gordon Brown’s got years as pm yet. And why progressive politics is set to dominate 21st Century UK.