I think there's a real danger of people looking at these coalition talks and seeing what they want to see.
Paddy Ashdown was on Today this morning arguing that a Lib/Lab pact would be "legitimate" because a majority of the British electorate, 52 per cent, voted for those two parties. (29 per cent Labour, 23 per cent Lib Dem).
Undoubtedly true. And a good rebuttal to those who argue that a Lib/Lab pact would be a "coalition of the losers".
But consider that a Lib/Con pact would also be "legitimate" because a majority of the British electorate voted for those two parties too. And the popular mandate of that pact would be arguably greater, at 59 per cent of the vote. (36 per cent Conservatives, 23 per cent Lib Dem).
There's a tendency among some on the left, as Giles Wilkes of the Freethinking Economist has pointed out, to assume that a Lib/Lab pact is somehow the only legitimate coalition that can emerge from these dealings - not just desirable, but legitimate. Why? Because a Lib Dem vote was obviously, in their eyes, an anti-Tory vote. For me, that's two-party thinking - and something that the Lib Dems should be keen to repudiate.