The inability of both political pundits and bookmakers to declare a probable election winner on May 7th has increasingly led to talk of the very realistic prospect of another coalition government. Indeed, there have even been suggestions of an unthinkable Conservative/Labour "Grand Coalition".
However, such a meeting of ideologically opposed parties might not be so improbable, especially when considering my recent conversation in Strasbourg with a Swedish MEP from a party within their own “grand coalition”, formed in late December, to stop the democratic advances of the Eurosceptic Swedish Democrats.
I was informed that following the conclusion of the Swedish coalition agreement, diplomatic staff from the British Embassy in Stockholm had privately met with key negotiators to investigate the workings and dynamics behind that deal. The Swedes that I spoke with, were most certainly under no illusion whatsoever, that a similar coalition could well be on the cards for the UK.
Nearer to home, Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, recently called for such a Tory/Labour “grand coalition”, to countenance the political power of the SNP - Yes, some commentators will point to the negative response from traditional Conservative quarters, but she might well have struck a chord with the real power brokers - The Tory and Labour Notting Hill elite, who will, Scotland aside, also be mindful of the prospect of having to deliver on the Conservative promise of an EU referendum in 2017.
“Cast Iron Dave”, who famously reneged on his earlier referendum pledge, (and has already declared that he would campaign in any such referendum for Britain to retain her EU membership), could well look upon this suggestion as a “gift horse in the mouth”, knowing full well that it might well be his “get out of jail free card” enabling him to use a Labour coalition deal, (remembering that they are the only major party not to declare support for an EU referendum), as a reason to kick the question back into the long grass.
As the “Dave and Nick Show” faces its final curtain, the British public should consider the prospects of a new marriage, at the same time as realising that their appetite for the first EU referendum since 1975, might well be confined to the hunger pangs of “five more years”.
Such a move would certainly increase the Prime Minister’s own unpopularity. Could this be the real reason behind his announcement that he won’t be seeking a third term in office?