What is this obsession with unity?
All political parties in a liberal democracy are coalitions of the disparate, if not the diverse, come together to agree upon a broad philosophy of government. Prior to the 19th century, politics was exercised by independent MPs who grouped informally according to type or temperament. It was only during the course of that century that these social networks evolved into what may be considered political parties.
The present Conservative Party was born out of 18th-century Tory-Whig divisions, and still contains staunch defenders of both traditions: it is the 'broad church' gathering that permits the likes of Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell to dwell under the same tent as Kenneth Clarke, or Margaret Thatcher with Ted Heath. It wasn't until 1912 that the Conservative Party merged with the Liberal Unionist Party and formally became The Conservative and Unionist Party. This year is, in fact, the centennial celebration of that union and the birth of the modern party (but don't expect any celebration or commemoration).
And the present-day Liberal Democrats are a fusion of Gladstonian Liberals (there are still a few) with those who are Social Democrat in disposition. There is an ever-present tension between the social liberals and the economic liberals (often termed 'Orange-bookers'), which permits Whig-Radicals like David Laws to break bread with moderate Socialists like Shirley Williams.
Both the Conservative and Liberal traditions embrace the top-down authoritarians and bottom-up libertarians. They both contain their reforming and conserving elements, held perpetually in tension, with diverse views on social mobility, economic liberalism, and overseas intervention, not to mention religion and secularism.
If, therefore, political parties are themselves fragile coalitions of the disparate, it stands to reason that the present Coalition Government, forged out of two already-fragmented parties, will itself be fractured across innumerable policy areas, though agreed on broad economic strategy and most of the reforms being implemented on education and welfare. Division, distrust and unsociability belie outward shows of unity and camaraderie.
This being the case, it would assist if the top-down Tory types would stop demanding that the bottom-up Whiggish element should submit to their authoritarian disposition and conform to a uniform agenda. If the liberals and conservatives in both parties bothered to sit down and listen to each other instead of bawling and bullying in the corridors of Westminster, we might just get some strategic policy direction and coherent philosophy.
But that's the grown-up approach.