I’m actually pretty pleased with the government we have – I wanted to vote for a Liberal Democrat party that wasn’t so keen on the Euro, so I guess this is as close as we’re going to get to what I wanted. For me it’s a great result.
As I’ve said before, the economy is the most important thing a government has to look after; it is upon it that everything else depends. With a strong economy the government has money to spend. What it chooses to spend on is a matter of political debate, but it’s a debate not worth having if there is no money. As has been shown, even the strongest of economies can only borrow so much for so long.
With this new coalition we appear to have a meeting of minds economically. Nick Clegg would appear to be a classical liberal economically, which makes his general view of the way the economy should be run not much different in thrust to the Tories. Of course there may be detail disagreements, and most of them will stem from thoughts on how the government should spend it’s money, rather than the way it should run the economy.
Being in coalition is a great check on the extremes of any party. Can you imagine the poll tax legislation getting passed if Thatcher had to get it past not only her own party, but a coalition partner too? And can you imagine the ludicrous ID card scheme being passed by a Labour government in coalition? Or the decision to invade Iraq being made?
Hopefully what we have is a coalition of parties who are like-minded realistic about the economy, and who will temper each others wilder flights of fancy. Already we’ve seen the Lib Dems give up on their immigrant amnesty plan, and the Conservatives give up their inheritance tax plans.
It’s going to be an interesting 5 years, and hopefully the press will get bored of trying to find the cracks soon. Obviously there have been compromises; there had to be. It doesn’t matter if they were made in the national interest or for political expediency; they had to be made (I happen to think the former as it happens). I also hope the left wing will give up their moaning; it’s undignified. Their argument appears to be ‘a coalition is not what anyone wanted, and the Lib Dems should be in coalition with us’ which, I think, boils down to ‘waaaaah s’not fair.’
I think it will last five years for the reason Michael Heseltine gave on Question Time last night – the government is going to have to do some very unpopular things to get the deficit down as it has to, so there is no way it’s going to risk an election campaign until the economy is on a definite upswing – which will be a few years yet. That is reason enough to keep the Tories honest, and the Lib Dems too, although of course they have the added incentive of perhaps returning to third party status at the next election (because somehow some of their voters feel betrayed that that party that voted for has got itself into the only position of power available to it and now has influence over government policy) on top of the fact that the Lib Dems simply can’t afford another election campaign.
We have the government we have. Given the results it’s the only stable government we could have had. That’s democracy as delivered by our voting system. We now have to live with it, but I personally think it might just be quite succesful. It’ll be interesting to see how the coalition partners campaign in 2015 though.