The Liberal Democrats are heading into the summer recess with an uncertain future. After a mauling at the hands of Labour in the local elections and coming fourth tied with the anti european Greens in the EU elections it seems that Nick Clegg is not just a lame duck but a dead duck.
Already there have been plots against him with a close friend of the business secretary Vince Cable having to resign from the party after a poll he paid for came to light. Embarrassingly this also leaves Cable as a bit of a lame duck.
The accepted view was that Clegg would become an EU commissioner and there would be a smooth hand over of power to Cable. However the rules mean that Clegg isn't eligible for a commissionership due to the Lib Dem's poor EU performance. The new commissioner will have to come from either the Labour or less likely the UKIP ranks. Cable is also seen as tainted. Many grass roots Lib Dem activists cite the Royal Mail sell off where he let a lot of rick Tory donors make a killing on the underpriced shares. An act some of the former Lib Dem MEPs had called corrupt.
So far the only names that have been mentioned are Lembit Öpik and Simon Hughes. Öpik is seen as being too foreign due to the umlaut on his name, plus his relationship with a Romanian, Cheeky Girl Gabriella, would be a target for Farage, UKIP and the Mail who hate everything Romanian. Hughes ambiguous sexuality is seen as the reason he won't be tapped again the Mail hate anything not straight and so do UKIP.
The only other candidate is treasury minister Danny Alexander. However most people including many Lib Dem members don't realize that Alexander is a Lib Dem, as with his support for austerity, tough immigration and competition in the NHS coupled with his fawning speech to the house on the death of Thatcher they assume he is a dyed in the wool Tory. He is however David Cameron's choice to be his next Deputy PM and Groom of the Stool