Things we've learned in the last 24 hours
1. That the Tories hadn't offered the Lib Dems anything on electoral reform. The sudden, desperate and resentful least-possible offer of a referendum on the absolutely useless AV (which does almost nothing for the Lib Dems) was a panic reaction to Brown's game-changing resignation.
3. That maybe the Tories were right about the BBC after all, albeit for the wrong reasons. The public-service broadcaster's post-election coverage has been an absolute disgrace – while we expect Murdoch's Sky TV to display Conservative bias, and it's perfectly allowed to do so, the BBC has a duty of impartiality which is has utterly abandoned since last Thursday.
The corporation has adopted a position of blatant opposition to any government other than a Tory-Liberal coalition, endlessly bombarding Labour, Lib Dem and other representatives with completely invalid propaganda attacks taken straight from the pages of the Mail and Express, eg the ridiculous, endlessly-debunked "unelected PM" line.
The UK has NEVER elected a Prime Minister, and the BBC knows that perfectly well, so why has the question been fired over and over again at countless representatives of the "progressive" parties, literally hundreds of times in the last 48 hours? Does the BBC suddenly expect one of them to rip off their mask, be revealed as Tom Cruise and give a different answer?
Meanwhile, Tory representatives have been thrown softball after softball, mostly along the lines of "Don't you think it's terribly unfair of the losing parties to talk to each other when you've gone so far to try to get the Lib Dems onside?" by reporters like Nick Robinson, the former Young Conservatives chairman who has more or less given up on any pretence of disguising his allegiances.
Labour representatives against the "progressive alliance" like John Reid and Diane Abbott have been given unchallenged platforms on which to make extended attacks on the idea, without ever being asked any of the screamingly obvious questions that arise from that position, such as "So are you saying you think we should have a Conservative government now?"
4. That mind-bogglingly, not a single correspondent that I've seen (and I've pretty much been watching the news non-stop since Thursday night) has pointed out that the arithmetic of the prospetive "progressive alliance" is only fragile and unstable if the Tories are prepared to force a vote of no confidence on every Commons division.
Nobody seems to be aware that the SNP government in Scotland has survived for three years despite being outnumbered by the opposition by a HUGE margin (around 40 seats), for precisely this reason. Voters don't like opposition parties who bring down elected governments which are supported by a majority of the electorate – as any "rainbow coalition" would be – and tend to punish them at the polls, particularly if they've done it at a time of economic crisis.
In practice, even with a working majority of only four or five votes – or even without any formal majority at all – the "progressive alliance" would actually be very likely to enjoy considerable stability.
5. That similarly, so far as I've seen NOBODY has raised the notion that a Lab-Lib-others coalition could very plausibly pass a PR referendum bill, hold the referendum and then call a new PR election. That would completely answer the fragility issue, (as it would almost certainly return a government with a very comfortable Lib-Lab majority) and would also be the democratically proper thing to do (particularly with a new "unelected" Labour leader in place), and therefore likely to be supported by the electorate.
I'm just an idiot off the street and all these things are staggeringly obvious to me, so what the hell are the BBC's highly-paid political journalists doing for their taxpayer-funded salaries?
6. That the Tories are really, really rattled. It seems as if it had genuinely never even occurred to them that the Lib Dems might consider working with Labour, and that coalition or Tory minority were the only possibilities. But Brown, who appears to have suddenly revealed previously-hidden political skills in the last week, has spectacularly outmanoeuvred them, first with his statesmanlike waiving of his constitutional right to have the first attempt at forming a government, and then with his truly spectacular suicide-bomb attack on Monday afternoon.
William Hague's dazed speech, strewn with blatant flat-out lies, offering the Lib Dems an AV referendum, revealed the full extent to which the Tories thought they could push the Lib Dems around, and every speech or interview with a member of the shadow cabinet since Brown's resignation has been characterised by barely-concealed fury.
7. That it's going to be REALLY hard for a Con-Lib deal, which is theoretically very much still possible, to be resurrected after this morning's front pages in the right-wing press.
8. That Labour's blind, incandescent, inbred hatred of the SNP might yet snatch defeat from the jaws of unexpected Labour salvation.
Stay tuned, viewers!