Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Clegg has played a blinder

Okay, so I would have preferred a Lib-Lab coalition, but the numbers were never really there, the dangers for the Lib Dems in being seen to prop up a defeated party were obvious, and as it became clear today, elements of the Labour Party were not really fully signed up to it anyway, be that out of ideological purism (Diane Abbott), a desire to rub Gordon Brown's nose in it (John Reid, David Blunkett), or positioning for the forthcoming party leadership election (Andy Burnham.)

So instead we have the LibServative option, and on paper, it doesn't seem like a bad outcome. Whatever my own personal feelings, I have said on more than one occasion during this election that the will of the public was probably towards some sort of Con-Lib coalition, and as such I don't think there will be anything like the kind of backlash towards this deal that a Lib-Lab agreement might have attracted.

In terms of policy positions, the initial signs are good, with the Tories have dropped their absurd regressive stance on inheritance tax in favour of the Lib Dem policy of raising thresholds for the worst off, and of course the guarantee of a referendum on the alternative vote which, even if it is likely to be opposed by both main parties, stands a good chance of winning a yes vote from the public.

There also appears to have been a very broad level of agreement between the two parties over civil liberties issues, with the prospect of a 'Freedom Bill' to scrap not only ID cards, but many of Labour's little-used criminal justice measures of the past 13 years.

On personnel, I am obviously delighted to see Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister and it is no less than he deserves for having not only fought a brilliant election campaign, but also for his conduct of the negotiations over the past few days. I am less delighted to see George Osborne move into the Treasury - Ken Clarke, Vince Cable or Phil Hammond would all have been preferable in my eyes - but you can't have everything.

The one outstanding mystery as we approach the early hours surrounds the post of Home Secretary. The absense of any briefing from No 10 clearly indicates that the job is not going to go to Chris Grayling, but may not necessarily mean it is going to Chris Huhne either. Could it be David Davis? If so, that would get the biggest cheer of all from me - the icing on the cake of what looks set to be a liberal government in the classical sense of the term.

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4 comments:

Maria said...

As hardly anybody voted for the Lib Dems, I find it disturbing that Mr Clegg now exerts such authority. You, obviously, applaud it.

the-whybird said...

23% of the country isn't "hardly anybody", Maria.

Matt Wardman said...

New age, new maths.

6,827,938 = nobody.

;-)

Steve said...

Quite pleased with it too I think. Voted LibDem due to the common sense policies and fairness. Whilst I have a deep distrust of Tories and the PR man himself Mr Cameron, I think have Nick and friends around the table will help keep the country from having any harsh Tory policies (like the inheritance tax increase) whilst keeping civil rights, and fairness protected to a degree that otherwise wouldn't have existed.

And Maria - there was 6% difference between Lib Dem and Labour votes, and the Tories only got 13% more than the Lib Dems! The LD's got 23% of the vote - which you call "Nobody". Two nobody's is FAR more than what the Tories got... But that's OK?

The people are speaking in fact nearly one in four people CLEARLY want what the Lib Dems are campaigning for. Combined, the Tories and Lib Dems make up nearly 60% of the vote - which I think is fine for a government.