Not read WW for a while, but he's got a decent piece up about how the Lib Dems are shaping up, which is well worth a peruse.
Liberal Democrat ministers already sound like they have gone ‘native’ in government – I have heard interview after interview in which they talk about the Government in collective terms.
But this is a very uneasy conversion. Some are clearly ‘restless’ and more concerned with making clear that this is above all a Coalition of two distinct political Parties. Vince Cable’s speech at their Conference was very much in the Coalition direction, whilst Nick Clegg’s was very much of the Government variety.
When assessing the possibility of splits, it's too easy to assume the divide is yellow/blue - it's much more a three-way Liberal/Government/Tories split, with the Government party the minority coalition partner of the three. A thought worth bearing in mind Talbot's conclusion is also worth consideration:
My guess will be that it’s not simply a question of Lib Dem policy, but of the need for systemic changes in the whole way Government works – including the civil service. In most countries where coalitions are a normal part of politics, the relationship between the (coalition) government, the civil service and the parliament is radically different to ours. There is little sign anyone yet even recognises the problem, and therein lies the trap for the Lib Dems.
Only one Coalition partner will be interested in doing this, of course, and it's not the blue one.