One good thing, possibly the only good thing, about the UK election result is the genuinely new experience of feeling sorry for the Liberal Democrats. If they form a pact with the Conservative Party they will be 'damned' by many on the left who, not understanding the need for compromise in the national interest, are only interested in unity on their terms. A pact with the Labour Party isn't enough for a majority; that would require the participation of some of the national parties – the SNP and Plaid Cymru for example. But these national parties would extract a heavy price for their cooperation leaving England to bear the brunt of any public service cuts when dealing with the budget deficit.
The fairest outcome for the UK - fair being a word I heard a lot during the campaign - would be a coalition with the Conservatives - but does the Liberal Democrat party have the courage to do what is best?