Andrew Rawnsley has an article about it today.
This idea will eat away at Nick Clegg's authority over his party and ultimately prove fatal for the coalition if it hardens into a fixed view of how this government works. The idea is that the Lib Dems have become the coalition's fall guys, the hapless human shields for David Cameron and George Osborne, the useful idiots of the Tories.
This is clear to me, and that the Lib Dems have been outsmarted by the Tories is clear to me. Despite being, person for person, a lot smarter. I think it's because they have too complex a model, with too many factors, whereas the Tories have a very simple model, which they are simply implementing. Just running a machine which eats up the Lib Dems like fuel.
I'm not sure to what extent Clegg is complicit in this. I imagine there has been no overt discussion of complicity, but I wonder to what extent becoming a Tory peer (a thought he must have entertained) makes him feel sick, or makes him feel quite nice. But further I am not sure to what extent Cameron's clique are playing a straight bat with Clegg. That is, are they really trying to create a centre-right party (or a permanent coalition which functions as one), by jettisoning the right of the Tories and the left of the Lib Dems? This is what many people think is the covert aim, and it might be what Clegg and his immediate team imagine will happen.
I am not convinced. I think it is possible that the model is even simpler, and even more ruthless than this. It may be that Cameron's people want to get in, make some money*, and fuck off. They may not really have any long term aims at all - let the country sort itself out, let the Tory party and the Lib Dems go to hell, they will be long gone. And then they will have outsmarted us all.
* By this I mean 'set up a system that directs money in a certain way', not 'write themselves cheques'