Keith Beardsley is a Tory insider. Smart guy. Not obviously insane. His angle on Justin's shock announcement this morning is surely worth noting:
It will...be interesting to see how the Conservative Senate caucus responds. How many of them will decide they would now like to become independent like their former Liberal colleagues? If enough Conservative senators decide to sit as independents it will change the dynamics of getting legislation through the upper house. The government side would be faced with convincing individual senators of the merits of legislation, rather than being able to demand loyalty to pass legislation.
As for other reactions, WK and LK make an obvious point: this move will look less clever should the LPC form a government in 2015 and have to run legislation through a group of independents rather than hacks and lapdogs. But what if this eventually becomes just the way things are? Senators become a bit more like their U.S. counterparts. If you were a lobby group, and swung one Indy-Senator to your side, how successfully could you delay an adverse bill? Or if you were an environmental group? Would negotiation become the order of the day?
I dunno, and in the end it could all be political theatrics. Made Wednesday more interesting, however.