I was wrong!

So, not a minority government with passive self-interest support, but a full coalition!

I can’t see inside the politicians’ motivations, but I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.  They’ve done a courageous and responsible thing for the benefit of a country in crisis.  Let me wish them, and us, all the best.

Naturally, I reserve the right to revise the above views in the light of events as they happen😉

Posted on May 11, 2010, in politics, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Motivations seem pretty clear, to me.

    Nick Clegg was in a no-win position: his support is divided between people who hate the Tories, and people who hate Gordon Brown, with a significant sub-grouping of people who think Labour has lost the plot and needs to get out. At the same time, if he didn’t do a deal with the Tories, he’d get the blame for creating an “unstable” government. So he needed to make a deal, but he needed to be seen to do it hesitantly and get something in return, which is what he’s been doing these past days.

    The Lib Dems and Tories actually have quite a lot in common, and if they concentrate on those things they’ll be quite a good government, IMO.They’re both against ID cards and want to cut down the DNA database; both want to reform the National Curriculum and cut political interference out of schools; both against expanding London airports; both want to see more cycle paths; both want to increase foreign aid spending. The Tories support a carbon tax, the Lib-Dems support a low-carbon economy. And so on. Where there are differences the Tories will no doubt get their way, but in many cases (e.g. tax, public-sector pay) the differences aren’t that great anyway. The biggest differences are on defence (and seriously, can you see the Lib Dems bringing down the gov’t over Trident?) and health, where the LDs will be happy to let the Tories have their way and take the blame for what follows.

  2. “The biggest differences are on defence (and seriously, can you see the Lib Dems bringing down the gov’t over Trident?)”

    Maybe.

    http://www.libdemvoice.org/nick-clegg-writes-yes-to-multi-lateral-global-disarmament-1566.html

    On the other hand the Tories should be able to count on some Labour votes since Trident replacement like for like was a Labour pledge too.

    However given there is a lot of belt tightening planned, losing the Trident replacement seems like a no-brainer. Why spend billions on a weapon no one dare use? I’ve argued before that the ability to make nuclear weapons is potentially useful, having a few around might be useful. Having several times the explosive power of World War II on a submarine at sea 24×7 is expensive and seems unduly risky to me.

    “and health, where the LDs will be happy to let the Tories have their way and take the blame for what follows.”

    Afraid coalitions carry collective responsibility at cabinet level, and I suspect politically as well.

  3. Like you, Niq, I’ll set aside my usual suspicion of politicians, wish them well, and hope that the spirit of cooperation and the wider good prevails over the inevitable differences of opinion and bouts of self-interest. And some of their ideas are quite sensible for once!

  4. “Afraid coalitions carry collective responsibility at cabinet level, and I suspect politically as well.”

    Responsibility != blame. The past couple of days have seen a great show of unity between Cameron and Clegg, but that won’t last. Within weeks, Clegg’s backbenchers will be quietly briefing the lobby journalists on ways in which they’d like to improve on the Tories’ ideas. That’s not disloyal, everyone does it, heck the Tories’ own backbenchers will probably be doing it as well. Just because they vote for something, doesn’t mean they can’t make damn’ sure everyone knows whose idea it really is.

  5. vet: “Motivations seem pretty clear, to me.”

    Up to a point. But what I meant was that I can put forward more than one hypothesis that fits events. To take two examples:

    * Both party leaderships are behaving in a responsible and statesmanlike way to make the best job of governing the country.
    * Cameron’s offer was a cynical attempt to split the libdems down the middle (as Labour’s unrealistic one obviously was); Clegg raised the stakes and called his bluff, and one thing led to another …

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