If there is substance to Peter Oborne's conjecture in this morning's Mail that there is a deal in the offing for Brown to bring the Lib Dems into government, this could be Brown's and Clegg's biggest miscalculation to date. The Lib-Lab pact negotiated between David Steel and Callaghan in 1978 didn't save Sunny Jim and neither will such a pact save Brown. And in 1979 the Libs lost a third of their votes as a result.
What's been absolutely clear from recent elections and by elections is that people have been voting not for Dave's Tories or Cleggie's Libs but against Brown's Labs. The anti-Labour vote has been split between the two, the Lib Dems taking votes from those who can't yet quite bring themselves to vote Tory. Public feeling against Labour will be stronger than any other electoral motivator. If Clegg allies his party to Labour, the Tories may gain some extra votes but the Lib Dems will certainly haemorrhage support - much more than the third of their votes they lost in '79. The Greens may now do quite well from lost Lib Dem votes. The country will see this as trickery, as denying the people the chance to be rid of Brown, and the outcome for both Labour and the Lib Dems will be disastrous.
For this reason I believe we should give every encouragement to the Lib Dems to join Brown's doomed government.