The gist of The Economist's arguments here revolve around painting Nick Clegg's "new-found" earnestness about his role on Coalition politics as much more mature and realistic than what their detractors seem to expect. And therein lies the first error - I'm not sure that with the stunning amount of cabinet posts allotted to the Lib Dems anything was expected at all. Nor can we blame the Lib Dem electorate for then bashing a move apparently out of the blue and conducted, ironically, with the least transparency possible, pre-election overtures considered.
I don't find Nick Clegg's admissions cerebral in any way - while it does do a lot to detach him from the underlying politics, these are just admissions. An alternate but more valid interpretation of the scene has Nick Clegg, as per the Guardianista narrative, merely making the few honest admissions he can, while Labour has moved on to present solutions. Merely commenting on the impotence of the current situation strikes me as even more petty (and most certainly isn't the path to establishing a reputation as an active alternative...)
Claiming that the rationality of this behavior - it is cool and rational, of course, but blasé coolness doesn't make a potent alternative - is any compensation (or is it justification?) for how riled up the ex-Lib Dem electorate is is for the lack of coalition in The Coalition to ignore the expectations of the electorate and the whole point of representative democracy. Voting in the Lib Dems - for change, being the Third Party and all that - to merely support policies espousing the exact opposite beliefs was certainly not their intent, supposed nobility of coalition politics aside. (Even, of course, if complete ignorance of the Orange Book is to be counted.)
If I may move on to topics more petty themselves, though, I suppose it behooves The Economist to present this behavior as defensible in any way - as if this path of expendient compromise is inherently more righteous than, say, keeping the moral nerve. That is a bigger issue in itself.