Thursday, 12th February 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

‘Gentlemen,’ concluded Mr Clegg, ‘I will give you the same toast as before, but in a different form. Fill your glasses to the brim. Gentlemen, here is my toast: To the prosperity of The Economy!’

There was the same hearty cheering as before, and the mugs were emptied to the dregs. But as the people outside gazed at the scene, it seemed to them that some strange thing was happening. What was it that had altered in the faces of the Lib Dems? Donald’s old dim eyes flitted from one face to another. Some of them had five chins, some had four, some had three. But what was it that seemed to be melting and changing? Then, the applause having come to an end, the company took up their order papers and continued the game that had been interrupted, and the people crept silently away.

But they had not gone twenty yards when they stopped short. An uproar of voices was coming from the Cabinet office. They rushed back and looked through the window again. Yes, a violent quarrel was in progress. There were shoutings, bangings on the table, sharp suspicious glances, furious denials. The source of the trouble appeared to be that Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron had each suggested the same policy simultaneously.

Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the Lib Dems. The people outside looked from Lib Dem to Tory, and from Tory to Lib Dem, and from Lib Dem to Tory again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.