And so, the deal is done, and a bunch of people that I know are running the country. It has been a very unsettling week or so, with all of my political assumptions having been challenged as talk swung between coalition with the Conservatives and coalition with Labour. It turns out that talking about collaborative government means, at some point, you actually have to decide who to collaborate with, and on what terms.
From my unusual vantage point, I can testify to the stresses and strains that those negotiations generated, and am astounded by the steadfastness demonstrated by the negotiators, the Party leadership and the senior management team in Cowley Street during those five days. When the history books are written, one wonders just what will emerge.
But now 'Liberal Bureaucracy', like any other Liberal Democrat blog, faces an unexpected challenge. How do we relate to a new government, particularly now that our Members of Parliament are part of it?
At times like this, there are advantages to writing like a civil servant, in that this corner of the blogosphere is relatively vitriol-free. I prefer to address ideas rather than people, playing the ball rather than the man. And generally speaking, my fellow Liberal Democrats are of a sunny mien. Oh yes, there are exceptions, but we can't all be alike, can we?
There will be challenges. Given the imbalance in the relationship between the two partners, there will be government policies that we are uncomfortable with, sometimes deeply uncomfortable. Occasionally, a Liberal Democrat minister will be delivering them (it's that pesky collective responsibility thing again...). The danger will come if we choose to unleash any pent-up vitriol on our own side - the media are going to be on the lookout for splits as times get tough. And yet we don't want to becoming cloyingly on-message loyalists - that just isn't us.
So, interesting times ahead for us all. Good luck and God bless in the brave new world...