So now we must ask: Whither the Liberal Democrats?
Well, it's been conference this week and they have managed some headlines and a few of their "big names" have been writing for the papers. Notably Malcolm Bruce, who it seems is an MP and Tavish Scott MSP, who used to be .... So we have some idea of what they feel they're about.
Bruce has been talking to The Telegraph about the SNP's "abuse of power"! This abuse appears to have manifest itself in talk of a referendum on independence. Having more MSPs than the rest of the parties put together, there is no obvious impediment to introducing an appropriate bill to give Scots the chance to chose their future. The likelihood is that it will pass and that Scots will be able to vote. A possibility that seems to scare the living daylights out of the unionist parties.
Of course the SNP hasn't actually mentioned referenda save in response to questions from opposition parties, Instead the SNP talks about bringing jobs to Scotland before all else; bringing capital spending forward to provide jobs for people and improve the infrastructure and housing in our country.
But old Malc has gone as far as to suggest the need for a second chamber for the Scottish parliament to hold the SNP to account. [For pity's sake man, we're trying to reduce the cost of government, not increase it.] And how would he insure that this second, expensive chamber wouldn't be SNP dominated? Have it appointed? By whom? Nick Clegg? Oh please.
Where is the abuse of power, Malc, seriously?
And poor old Tavish Scott, bitter to the last, has written for Scotland on Sunday. I won't go into details here, because someone who is an expert on debunking pompous nonsense has already done it here.
Still they both made a great headline for the unionist papers.
They seem desperate to do that at all costs. They are the hard men, they're standing up to the Tories and the SNP.... Pfffffff.
Where are they going? Well, they went from 16 to 5 seats in the Scottish parliament; that's a start . Then there was the English council elections, where half the seats were lost; and in Liverpool, losing 11 out of 13 seats, the ex-council leader, a lord no less, lost his seat to an 18 year old lad.
They won't admit it but they must be dreading next year's council elections here.
So not so much WHITHER the Liberals... as WITHER the Liberals, and who would wonder at it when they sold principles for a few cabinet seats, flash offices and big cars...
However... there is hope. Because the rank and file are still trying to get some decency into the government's policies on health benefits as shown here.