Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coalition Government - Honeymoon Still?

Another  unusually (for SW20 in July) hot humid sort of  day  seems apt for some thoughts on the unusual (for the UK)  coalition government so far.

The Coalition government during these early weeks at least, seems to be avoiding making heavy weather of running the country. The absence of  a great deal of the petty politcal bickering asociated with previous  one party governments especially the last one, is novel and refreshing - the coalition government in its  recent budget did what had to be done without too much fuss.

So far the largest pitfall the coalition  goverment appears to have stumbled upon, is that of taking the obviously unpopular step of cancelling many school capital building projects but then  failing to make clear which schools would be affected and which projects could continue -  to the extent of misidentifying some  schools. This resulted in  unnecessary upsets and disappointments. Even then the Education Secretary Michael Gove apologised effusively and speedily. Single party government ministers  have historically not been very forward about admiting mistakes and apologising so  the Coalition's  way of handling the error about school building projects  is plus point though it would have been far better not to have made such a mistake in the first place.

The  professional relationship between David Cameron and Nick Clegg seems reassuringly businesslike and mutually supportive and compares favourably  (so far) with such relationships  between key members of previous single party government cabinets, for example that  between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Indeed the latter is apparently the subject of gossipy publicity instigated by yet another erstwhile  single party government cabinet minister now Lord Mandelson, which if true would  itself exemplify the kind of bickering which the old style governments   attracted like wasps to the marmalade  at  breakfast in the garden.

The principal risk to the Coalition will be from the back benchers not resisting  the tempation to indulge in old style bickering - to date though  only a couple or so are making muted moans.

The LibDems are be keeping the worst of the Torys' policies at bay yet the Conservatives seem to be  accepting some of the key points from the Lib Dem's  whilst not giving the more wishy washy liberal arguments too much of the light of day.

It's very early days but despite the undoubted burden of having to make cuts and  unpopular plans for for severe  financial restraints, the  new Coalition government and politics are looking good  for a fairer running of the UK.

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