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This is true. Brown will benefit from a growing Lib Dem base, but also benefits in some areas from their destruction.

One thing seems clear: the "Lib-Lab Deal" arguments have hurt Ming personally far more than the Lib Dems themselves. One can only wonder if that was Brown's desire. I think so.

If it's true, then he's worried. Labour really are in trouble if they have to rely on Lib Dems to beat Tories in order to keep power. Probably took some thinking and that luxury will soon be gone...

Personally, I'm very happy if the Libdems and Labour fall out, much less chance of PR.
Also pleased with the take in most national newspapers where it is seen as a set back for Brown and humiliation for Ming.I'm glad John Mcdonell has publically criticised this shoddy deal for what it is. More of that please John.
If Brown is really ruthless he will announce an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq on becoming PM.If he does we're well and truly stuffed.

Adam: If it's true, then he's worried.

No, why should he be. He has just started maneuvering.

Time will tell who has benefited from Brown asking the Lib Dems to join with him. It certainly seems to have upset many in his own party, but I tend to agree with those who think that this has wounded Ming far worse.

I think it is actually quite a smart move by Brown, because I think it does the following:

1. It says his style of leadership will be more inclusive
2. That he wants to use the most talented people in Parliament, a sort of wartime coalition – a government of all the talents
3. It says that Hain amongst others are so incompetent that Brown would rather have a couple of Lib Dems in his government than them
4. It says to those voters who are defecting to the Lib Dems from Labour that actually his views are similar to theirs and that there is no reason to switch their vote, so they should just continue to Labour
5. It has also wrong footed the Lib Dems who are eating away at his flank allowing him to concentrate on the main event, fighting us.

One Lib Dem who I spoke to was furious the way Brown’s allies leaked this story but was more annoyed that Ming seems to have lost control of senior members of his own party. He doubted if Ming can survive as Lib Dem leader for much longer.

So rather than indulging ourselves and intruding on Lib Dem grief, as fun as it might be to many my advice is to get down to the bookies and get some cash down quickly on a Lib Dem Leadership challenge within the next 6 months.

Brown's convinced he's a genius. He's persuaded the media to write it so many times it must be true.

Now he's got the steering wheel in his hands, he wants to drive the vehicle. The problem with playing Macchiavellian power games (as Macchiavelli said) is that you can never be sure what the outcomes will be.

Usually it is better to allow others to move their pieces across the chess board first and blunt their initiatives before collecting.

Ultimately it's a game of relationships, and again Gordon Brown has shown himself unable to be trusted - in a fairly crass manner. The more he plays crass political moves (alan sugar!), even if they work in the short term in securing particular objectives, he is burning up political capital.

Not everyone has a Gordon-centric view of the world, as he is rapidly finding out, seeing the offers to join him in his new powerbus being refused.

He is eroding the respect he accumulated under Blair. At the moment people are still taking him seriously, but they won't much longer. He's trying to be too clever. He should remember the KISS acronym. Keep It Simple Son.

This one's a no-brainer. Once the LibDems get their act back together, Cameron's 'soft' swing vote will leach back to them.

After all, when the bunny-huggers reputedly dazzled by Cameron tree-friendly agenda realise that the Tory party still contains all the same old reactionaries who have been there all along (plus a few who are rejoining from UKIP) they'll be off like a shot to support Mr Clegg's sparky revamped party.

Even renegades have their uses, but relying on them is dangerous in the extreme.

The good news is that I suspect that our share of the woolly sentimental vote is much smaller than we have been led to believe.

Hmm I'm not so sure. The unwritten story of 2005 was Michael Howard's eroding of Lib Dem majorities in the South (and shoring up of Conservative majorities). The South also contains the bulk of the new support for Cameron. Therefore, we can conclude that it will be very difficult for the Lib Dems to hold on to a lot of their Southern seats, let alone take seats off the Conservatives.

Whereas Labour has seen support slip, meaning that seats like Newcastle Central and City of Durham come in to play for the Lib Dems. A Lib Dem resurgance, combined will a fall in Labour support from 2005 levels make Lib Dems a bigger threat to Labour than us.

"resurgent Lib Dems" I dont know where, they were wallopped in the Welsh Assembly and local government elections. They may be doing well in the odd council here and there but to call this a resurgence is quite frankly fantasy

The Lib Dems gained most of the seats from the Conservatives. Current polls suggest that most of those would return Conservatives if an election was held tomorrow. It is Brown's interest to undermine Ming in the hope that a leadership contest will be triggered.

Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne or even Ed Davey are the potential Lib Dem leaders who would appeal to swing voters in Lib Dem held seats. Cameron will fear another Lib Dem leadership assassination. That is likely as many Lib Dems will not let Ming ruin their careers. Dave's only hope is that Dim Lebs pick Simon Hughes or Lembit Opik.

people often high-light that ming and gordon are fife-buddies. i don't think brown would like the idea of colluding with a fellow scot to keep out the english tories (possibly the biggest party by the time it all comes to a head). maybe this feeds into the idea that brown's target was ming rather than his party.

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