This is a direct quote from a comment on Richard Murphy's tax blog, relating to the story that the lib dem conference voted overwhlemingly to oppose the Health Secretary's plans to reform the NHS:
"it’s difficult to know how this will pan out. The three main possibilities are:
(1) cosmetic concessions by the Tories which don’t alter the substance of the NHS reforms, and the Lib Dems spinelessly back down (as they have done on pretty much every issue so far in the coalition)
(2) the Lib Dems put their foot down and the Tories back down - watering down or delaying the NHS proposals in the hope that they will get their own working majority at the next election after boundary changes and be able to implement the full reforms then
(3) both parties refuse to back down and the Coalition collapses fully or partially. For example, the Lib Dems could split with a rump of orange book right wingers staying to maintain a small working majority, and the rest forming a new progressive liberal party.
Based on the Lib Dems’ record so far, my money is on (1) - I don’t have much faith in them at all to be honest, and in some ways Labour is relying on the Lib Dems staying right of centre to be able to mop up the centre-left vote at the next election. But who knows how this will play out?"
Personally, I'd tend to agree with this, with the added caveat that it could still totally destroy the lib dems as a party, given the clear position of the party as a whole on this fundamental issue.
What do you think?