Nick Clegg's short intervention this morning - that the party with most votes and seats, the Conservatives, should seek to form a government - could be a hint that things are moving faster than they might seem.The assumption has been that the Lib Dems key demand - an agreement to, at the very least, a referendum on PR - is anathema to the Tories and effectively rules out any coalition between them. Certainly, that was the assumption of this morning's 0810 interviews on BBC Radio 4's Today - and with good reason.
Need that be so? And need we spend too much time looking at the crystal ball?The 2008 election in New Zealand provides a good example of a 'confidence and supply' agreement; an agreement between parties - none of whom has an overall majority - in order to form a stable government but which does not tie the partners together as tightly as a formal coalition with a single, agreed, full legislative programme.
The basis of 'confidence and supply' is, very crudely, that the smaller partner agrees not to vote against the incoming government's Queen's Speech or a confidence motion nor to vote against supply measures, enabling the government to pay its bills and raise credit.
Its preamble is interesting:
Remind you of anything?
"Recognising that National and ACT have a duty to give effect to the will of the people as expressed at the general election, in particular the strong mandate for a change in New Zealand’s economic and social directions ..."
And here's something else to think about. What if part of a 'confidence and supply' deal between David Cameron and Nick Clegg is that the Tory leader agrees that a vote in parliament for a referendum on PR isn't a confidence measure ....?
We'll know, I guess, at 2.30.