Labour win the Oldham by election but not by a big enough margin to allow them to say they are on the rise.
The Tories are runners up as their supporters react to "Daves" support of the LD's
Clegg plays it down but other LD's start to panic as their vote is seen to collapse.
May local elections, good for Labour, mostly neutral for the Tories but again the LD vote collapses and the panic is now established with many LD MP's speaking out against ConDem Policies.
Cable quits (or is pushed) to be replaced by Laws and the Cabinet lurches futher to the
By conferance time the LD ministers are in direct opposition to the activists and quite a few of the LD MP's. The LD poll rating is dragging along the floor at about 9%
The first real cracks are starting to appear in the Coalition.
The Tory back benches and the 1922 commitee are in open revolt as Labour is seen to be making a good (but not great) comeback in the opinion polls.
Labour has taken on "Daves" pre election tactic of not having va lot of policies so the Tories have little to attack.
Many independant think tanks are reporting increases in child poverty, rough sleeping, fuel poverty which means constant bad news for the Coalition.
The Government gets the blame (rightly) for increased unemployment, wage freezes whilst utility and rail fare increases outstrip inflation.
End of the year, Milliband slowly on the up, Clegg almost divorced from his party.
i'd feel much more confident if david milliband had got in instead of ed, but it might just be because i fancy him
Cable won't quit. He didn't quit over tuition fees, and he didn't quit when he was secretly recorded. He doesn't have much credibility left.
His best option is to get on and do the best he can to promote British business (including banks and financial services).
I agree that Labour will walk Oldham, but I am not sure about the Tories coming second.
I do think that soon David Cameron will have to make at least some concessions to the right of the Tory party. Hopefully, by tightening up the EU Referendum Bill so it has real teeth.
Clegg is going nowhere fast, precisely BECAUSE the Lib Dems are in deep, almost existential, trouble. He will be used as a lightning rod, to soak up all the unpopularity - and eventually swan off to a diplomatic non-job somewhere. I don't think he will lead the Lib Dems into the next General Election though.
You have a point regarding Cable but I can see him returning (much diminished) to the back benches to lead a "revolt" against the Coalition policies.
The non minister LD MP's will not allow themselves to take the shit for the Tories for ever, they are in a lose, lose situation, I can see many revolts against Clegg and the Tories and maybe a leadership challenge at conference.
Clegg, Alexander and Laws will be Tory MP's after the next election, Dave will find them safe seats.
My prediction is that there will be some serious/shock downturns in a lot more left-led European economies than simply Ireland, Greece & Portugal. The Coalition could find themselves in a more influential position in Europe as a result... thus pleasing the right-wingers... and the comparisons with the Labour 'do nothing about the structural deficit until 2015' strategy would be thrown into sharp relief.
I think the AV referendum will turn into a damp squib now that LD supporters have been exposed to the realities of coalition government and are cross with Nick. Campaigning from the main parties will be earnest without being overly vigorous! Resulting disappointing turn-out and/or a Facebook 'Alternative Alternative Vote' campaign dampens enthusiasm further.
The libdems will lose Oldham. The only question really is by how much. If its a small dip then noone will be seriously worried.
If the lib dem votes evaporate then there will be another round of panic within the lib dem party.
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