Friday, 24 December 2010

How long will the coalition last for?

Another bad week in government for the Lib Dems.

Poor old Vince Cable, he received a public slapping down by David Cameron and Nick Clegg following his comments about Rupert Murdoch.

I haven’t decided yet if I agree with the Telegraph’s methods of using two undercover reporters to secretly record a conversation with Cable. The Business Secretary claimed he had ‘declared war’ on Rupert Murdoch’s attempts to take full control of BskyB.

Under any other government Cable would have been sacked for saying this, but it looks like it's been decided the coalition will be stronger with Cable in it, rather than out.

It’s no secret Vince Cable's found it difficult working with the Tories. Now more stories are coming out about other Lib Dem ministers privately opposing government policies

For the first time since the government came to power, it got me thinking that perhaps the coalition won’t last a full term.

How times have changed for Vince Cable. At the start of the year he was everyone’s favourite MP, Saint Vince, he could do no wrong, now he’s being humiliated in public.

I’m sure the Telegraph were partly motivated to try and expose more divisions within the coalition, but it shouldn’t really be a surprise to people that there are policy disagreements between government ministers. Have people forgot how divided New Labour was between Blairites and Brownites?

I have to say, I don’t get the attitude of some Lib Dem ministers. They’ve been given a great opportunity of being in government, but instead of trying to make the most of it, too many seem happy to complain about how difficult life is working with the Tories.

Considering the number of seats won at the last election, the Lib Dems have had a disproportionate influence on this government.

Despite this influence, the Party looks like it’s trying to prevent an emotional breakdown as it battles the internal conflicts of being in government with the Tories.

You get the impression that some Lib Dems would prefer to be out of government but still have their principles. That's the easy option.

You can shout from the sidelines knowing that you’ll never have to put any policies into practice or be scrutinised by the public.

The more complaints I here from Lib Dems, the more I think the coalition might not last the course.

David Cameron, and Nick Clegg may have a good working relationship, but they’re both leading parties whose backbench members are increasingly uncomfortable and unsatisfied with the current arrangements.

There must be loads of Tory backbenchers who are sick of the Lib Dems having so much influence, but they're not making as much noise as their Lib Dem counterparts.

If the coalition was to collapse there would have to be another election. I’d expect the Lib Dems to take a battering and strangely enough I could see Labour getting re-elected.

It sounds bizarre as Ed Milliband hasn't made the strongest start to life as Labour leader. He’s still trying to define what Labour under his leadership stands for.

But if the government’s cuts start biting and the public become more unhappy they may turn back to Labour, almost by default.

The optimism of Cameron and Clegg in the back garden of No 10 celebrating the new coalition feels like a very long time ago.

I think 2011 could be a long a very long year for the Lib Dems and the government.

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