The recent by-elections have prompted a rash of discussions about whether and how the non-Tory parties can work together. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the years, with experience of both seats where Labour was the leading non-Tory party (Broxtowe, Islington North) and seats where it wasn’t (Chelsea, SW Surrey). A few facts to start off with: Historical comparisons make it implausible that Labour will win an absolute majority at the next election. In our volatile climate, you can’t rule anything out, but the wall to be climbed is staggeringly steep. Relations between the Labour and LibDem parties at national level are reasonably cordial.