Well, gosh. It’s the ‘Nick and David Show’.
I was planning a really long post about the post-election negotiations, but directhex got there first, nicely summing up pretty much everything I was planning to say.
Specific points of note:
- LibDems are in government! This means that some LibDem policies, including voting reform, are on the agenda. This is good;
- Sensible, intelligent people like Vince Cable are in the cabinet. This is good;
- Those worried that the LibDems are “propping up the Tories” are, in my opinion, misguided. Yes, the Conservatives are the largest party and the majority of the cabinet is comprised of Conservative MPs; but – and it’s a very big ‘but’ – the pre-Coalition negotiations have removed from agenda some of the more extreme Conservative policies. Also, as time goes on, this moderating influence of the LibDems on the Conservative far right will hopefully continue. Also, a number of LibDem policies have been adopted;
- None of the above would have happened under a Conservative minority government and particularly not under a Conservative majority government which seemed certain to be on the cards just a few months ago;
- The voting reform agreed by the Coalition for putting to a referendum, the Alternative Vote, is not a proportional representation system, but it does have some advantages. It makes tactical voting less effective and unnecessary, it also ensures an MP has reasonable support from those for who that MP was not a voters first choice; and it opens the door for further, better voting reform in future, too
- It is in the interests of both parties in the coalition to show that coalitions can work. The credibility of both will be damaged if this is not the case. If the coalition continues and is largely successful, this will let people see that coalitions are not the evil chaotic beast that many (especially the Conservatives, actually) claimed. This may help in future with a move towards a more proportional voting system which makes coalitions more likely: people will worry less about a coalition;
- ID cards and the National Identity Register are to be scrapped! This was an easy one for them to agree since both Conservatives and LibDems were against this from the start; also it’s a nice big money saver.
I’ve cautiously optimistic about how this might all turn out. At least now we have a government which can start getting on with … well, erm … governing, or whatever it is that governments actually do.