Cameron seized the problem and made it an opportunity. By cutting a deal with the Liberal Democrats, he has built a center-right coalition.

In so doing, he has changed the nature of his own party, and the nature of the Liberal Democrats, his coalition partner. If he had a small majority, he would have been hostage to his most ideological members. As it is, he has potentially weakened the strong partisans in both parties, empowered the pragmatists who are better-suited to coalition politics and created a less polarized political climate…

The two parties are now in an economically conservative, socially liberal embrace that they hope will last for five years. The parties disagree on many things (immigration, Europe, electoral reform), but they tend to agree on the need for fiscal restraint. The efforts to control debt will be strengthened by having a broad coalition behind them. The political pain will be shared.