Douglas Alexander has written a piece for the New Statesman trying to prise open the cracks in the coalition over Europe.
In the run up to this afternoon’s debate on the EU, during which Ed Miliband is expected to paint Cameron as isolated both at home and abroad, the shadow foreign secretary has invited the Lib Dems to work with Labour to get the UK back into the heart of Europe.
The roots of what happened on the night of Thursday 8 December lie deep in Cameron’s failure to modernise the Tory party. Just because he puts party interest before the national interest, there is no reason others should do the same. That is why I make a genuine offer to Liberal Democrats to work with us to try to get a better outcome for Britain, between now and when this agreement is likely to be finally tied down in March. Work can and should start immediately both to win back friends and allies and to consider what rules and procedures can avoid Britain’s further marginalisation.
My message to Lib Dems would be that, over the next few years, the public will reward politicians who show serious statesmanship, not shrill showmanship in the face of economic events none of us has witnessed before and the outcome of which remains uncertain.
It is cleverly worded: Lib Dems are blaming Cameron’s failure to stamp down on his eurosceptic MPs for the UK veto too.
But the strategy is interesting: rather than attacking Clegg and his party for allowing Cameron to take the UK out of these discussions (going after the LDs was a favourite Labour tactic early in the coalition), Alexander is trying to win them over to his side. Defections are as yet unlikely: the parliamentary party is still behind its leader, but Alexander and his colleagues may be hoping that it will only take one or two more issues like this for the Lib Dems to wonder more seriously what they are in the coalition for.