OK, put yourself in Peter Mandelson's shoes. Do you stand idly by while the Tories and Lib Dems get all cosy as they negotiate Labour out of government? Or do you....interfere.
No, you set a hare running that there's a possibility of a deal with Labour, raising the hopes of grassroots Lib Dems round the country that they are not going into a coalition with the Tories, thus taking the blame and the fury for the cuts they will impose. You also raise the hopes of the many people who voted Lib Dem to keep the Tories out, only to face the prospect of putting them in.
Now, Mandelson, knows these talks will fail, he knows the mood of the party and he knows the mind of very senior colleagues who will not allow a deal with Lib Dems to go unchallenged. It is doomed to failure. The negotiating team went in clinging to things, such as ID cards, that the Lib Dems could not live with. The talks were doomed and intended to be so.
But you've done two things. You've raised the hopes of Lib Dem rank and file, making them realise the horror of what they're getting into. You've also made the Lib Dem leadership look like flip-flopping, duplicitous opportunists, auctioning off power to the highest bidder.
Now, all the above might be fevered fantasy on the eve of a Tory Government.
Or else it might be an act of Machiavellian political maneuvering worthy of.....Peter Mandelson.
And lest we forget. In 1997 Labour won 418 seats - 418 - now that was a majority, that was a mandate to govern. The Tories were utterly destroyed and left with just 165 seats.
Labour now have 258 seats, easily enough to come back at the next election and take power from what they have ensured is a very shaky coalition.
Oh and the Labour Party website servers went down last night, such were the numbers logging on to join the party. At the same time the Tory and Lib Dem recruitment pages were running just fine. Maybe they've got better servers.....maybe.