As we sit and wait for Clegg & Co. to make their decision, one wonders why Cameron made such a “big, open and comprehensive offer” to the Liberal Democrats. I’m reminded of a question posed at the end of Cameron: The Rise of the New Conservative, an excellent biography by Francis Elliot and James Hanning:
Cameron has been unapologetic about his pragmatism. In delivering the Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture in March 2005 he explicitly rejected ‘ideological’ politics in favour of ‘practical conservatism’. Certainly there are sound political reasons for his refusal to strike rigid, predictable postures based on a clear ideology. But is his pragmatism conceived as a way to secure an election victory that will allow the implementation of a radical programme or does it, as his internal critics suggest, flow from an inherent inclination to expediency?
Cameron’s offer, it seems, is more of that “inherent inclination.”