An article in the Independent suggested that the Eastleigh result would strengthen Nick Clegg's hand in dragooning Liberal Democrat MPs into the lobbies to support Tory policies. Surely the reverse is true: Nick is now in a stranger position to inject more Liberal Democrat policies into the coalition programme.
In the Observer last month an article by Will Hutton concluded as follows (my emphasis):
What is becoming clearer by the month is that every Tory maxim - leaving the EU, belief in smaller government, a hands-of approach to capitalism, junking the welfare state - is 100% wrong. Britain needs to learn from Japan. We don't just need a radicalisation of monetary policy - we need to recast, from top to bottom, how our companies are owned, financed and managed. Otherwise we face an economic and social calamity.
That vision of how companies should be run, making them responsible to the interests of employees, consumers of their product and the community in which they operate, as well as, rather than solely, to shareholders, has been part of the Liberal creed for at least the past half century. When I first campaigned for the party in the 1960s and 70s we had wonderfully detailed schemes on how it could be achieved.
So far in this coalition two Liberal Democrat dreams, electoral reform and the creation of a democratic second chamber, have run into the sand. Nick Clegg now has increased authority, and two years left. to retrieve at least something from the wreckage by pressing for this fundamental reform of the way capitalism works.