Up until last week Nick Clegg & the lib dems were fully supportive of the government’s NHS reforms and it seemed inevitable that these would go ahead. What a difference a week makes.
Cleggy is now saying that he is going to oppose the reforms. There is no doubt that his change of stance is due to the panning he got last week in the elections. His lost voters were telling him that when they voted lib dem in the past they were not voting for conservative puppets.
He could be criticised for being vacillating, opportunist and lacking in integrity I suppose, but on the other hand he is responding to the electorate, so you could say this is democracy in action.
Whatever his reasons the consequences of his change of stance are significant. Without lib dem support the reforms can not go through, and, more than that, the conservatives face defeat in the commons. We could be in for yet another general election sooner than we think.
There are two big ifs. Firstly, is his new found opposition to the reforms a genuine point of principal, or is he cynically using the issue as a convenient expression of independence? If he delivers the goods that does not really matter. But that is the other big if. Will he maintain his opposition or will he simply switch back again if and when it is expedient?