Iain Dale, bless him, he's been out of the country, and a number of his acolytes have been quick to seize upon Ming Campbell's five challenges to Gordon Brown as a set of conditions for a coalition. Of course, that is what they (the Conservative Party) want them to be, but in reality, the Tories have totally missed the point.
In his own posting Iain claims that it is a list of terms for coalition, then highlights that PR is not included. Come on Iain, work it out ... If P.R. is not one of the terms then, sorry if I'm stating the obvious, THEN IT IS NOT A SET OF TERMS FOR A COALITION. They are exactly what Ming said, five challenges.
By laying down five challenges, Ming has now created the reasons, the benchmark, for ruling out a coalition with Labour. The challenges are not all that specific, and give a good pretext to say "Sorry Gordon, but no". I think there is no thirst for a coalition with Labour, not from Lib Dem members or activists and least of all from the country at large.
However, in much the same way as the Tories only last week put a caveat in their policy discussions saying that "No policy brought forward from a policy group can be regarded as party policy until agreed by the shadow cabinet". The Lib Dems can now clearly say "Until Gordon Brown has achieved the five goals we have laid down, we will not even consider coalition".