If Nick Clegg emerges as the king-maker in the British election, his core demand will be a change in the electoral system to some sort of proportional representation. Currently, the system is like the American: all voters are organized into geographic constituencies, and the candidate with the most votes in each goes to parliament. This obviously penalizes third parties, who can do very well - say 20 percent of the vote - and yet get a tiny number of seats. You can see the point most clearly in the current polling.
Check out the poll above. The Lib-Dems are now solidly in second place and have stayed there for a week or so. They are getting 30 percent of the vote, compared with Labour's 27 percent. But in parliament, the Lib-Dems would get a mere 85 seats and Labour would get 226. A system which rewarded a third party more fairly makes democratic sense, but it all but guarantees that Britain's political system would become like Germany's. Instead of clear, one-party, accountable governments, there would be permanent coalition politics, with the Liberal Democrats (like Germany's Free Democrats) in the role of power-broker. The Liberals have long dreamt of this, and tried to get it in the 1970s when the parties were in the last deadlock similar to today.