You wouldn’t think the general election was still over a year away from the behaviour of the main parties.
One thing is clear—neither Labour nor the Tories appear confident about winning an outright majority. So the whiff of a new coalition is everywhere.
The Lib Dems have taken a hammering in the polls because they helped push through vicious Tory cuts. But they are still seen as possible players in a future coalition government.
Ed Miliband has previously said that he wouldn’t work with the Lib Dems if Nick Clegg was still leader.
But Labour no longer demands Clegg’s sacrifice for coalition.
Now the mood music is about what Labour and the Lib Dems have in common.
It’s an admission that Labour’s polling isn’t as strong as it should be after four years of Tory attacks.
At the same time the Tories and the Lib Dems have to both govern together yet also show their supporters that they haven’t given up their independence.
The regular attacks on each other show they are worried that five years of coalition has damaged their standing with their traditional voting bases.
Yet for all this noise the three main parties agree about the need for austerity. And there is a virtual arms race about who can be tougher on immigration.
Waiting until May 2014 to expect change is not an option. We should call on union leaders to take the fight to the Tories now.