Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The New Era of Coalition and Consensus

I’m relieved. It seems the Lib Dems thought better of their flirtation with Labour (see my acerbic comments on that yesterday) and have come to an historic agreement in coalition with the Conservatives. It is clearly the most sensible thing to do, and I applaud it. Both sides are to be congratulated on their willingness to compromise and their understanding that the much-vaunted National Interest will best be served this way – as I’m sure it will.

I shall be interested to see the detail – for the “devil will be in it”, as usual. But the discovery of common ground between the two sides must have been a revelation, and the fact that all the Lib Dem MPs and peers voted for the coalition is a testimony in itself. The opportunity had to b e taken, not only in the National Interest but in their own. Experience of government, at ministerial rank, is a prize to be treasured, and very good for the Lib Dem CV in five years’ time!

I'm fast becoming a David Cameron fan. On Friday afternoon he outlined in his speech the broad outlines of the coalition he was offering the Lib Dems. And lo and behold, when we come to the policies they have agreed on, they are very similar. This is a man of great promise, I feel. He can broadbrush an outcome, and deliver it. He has steel underlying the charm, the command of his party, and last night we saw his ability to deliver with humility a simple, note-free little homily on the steps of Downing Street. Now for the real challenges of government...

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