At the start of the election campaign, it seemed that it would take surgery to remove Vince Cable from Nick Clegg's side.
The pair were pictured together on the front of the party's battle bus  and the Lib Dems' website. And around the country, as if the Lib Dems feared leaving their young leader alone, the Tiggerish Clegg was forever trailed by the Eeyore-like Cable. Such was the latter's prominence at the party's manifesto launch that commentators cruelly asked: "who's that bloke standing alongside Vince Cable? ".
But all that changed on Thursday when Clegg emerged victorious from the first TV debate and the Lib Dems' poll ratings went supernova .
Even more curiously, Cable pulled out of a scheduled appearance with Clegg at Cardiff University  today, prompting howls of disappointment from students hoping to quiz the party's economic guru.
As he retreats to nurse his bruised ego, Cable may well consider the possibility that his woes began when he chose to compare himself  to that well-known socialite "The Elephant Man".