Sir Menzies (Ming) Campbell, the elder statesmen among party leaders, yesterday laid out a variety of challenges for the next Labour leader. Interestingly the media decided to follow their own highly spurious agenda. Following an off the record briefing they were asking whether Ming's speech declared an intention to enter a coalition - was Ming also blowing a dog whistle to be heard by those who want power and are not totally anti-Labour?
A coalition may be likely, given the proximity the parties enjoy in the polls, but is Ming really setting himself up as the power broker? Or is the media just desperate for something interesting to write about the LibDems spring conference? Whatever the answer it is hard to see Gordon and Ming working together, even less likely a cabinet that may include John Reid and Lembit Opik; Margaret Beckett and Vince Cable; John Prescott and Steve Webb. But now the media have placed the idea on the agenda it will run, influencing attitudes and perhaps voting behaviour across the country. This could mean that tactical voting takes on a whole new meaning by the next UK election.