Henry Farrell wonders what happens if moderates break for the Lib Dems instead of the Tories:
[T]here are a lot of unhappy right wing conservatives, who have grudgingly accepted Cameron’s push toward moderation, because they are desperate to get back into power. If Cameron’s centrism doesn’t win the election, then they are likely to try to pull the party back sharply to the right. And they have a very good chance of succeeding. Together, these two mechanisms would have two consequences. First - a Conservative party that is much further to the right and less electable over the short term (and perhaps the long term too). Second - a Liberal Democrat party that positions itself a little to the right of center (and likely makes Nick Clegg a happier leader in the process).
John Gray worried about a Tory loss awhile back:
If the Conservatives fail to emerge as the largest single party Cameron’s position as leader will surely be challenged, and it is not hard to see a return of the mayhem that kept them out of power for so many years. The small and much resented cabal that imposed a public face of moderation would be rejected, the ideological passions that have remained beneath the surface would re-emerge and the Conservatives would once again become a rancorous, ungovernable rabble.
Cowen quotes the end of Gray's essay, which critiques Oakeshott, patron saint of the Dish.
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