It doesn’t seem possible that 3 months has passed since the General Election.
After 100 days in government, despite attempts by the media and Labour, the Coalition has survived.
There have been ups and downs, as you would expect. With the media hanging on every spoken word from ministers, it’s hardly surprising they have picked up and ‘made hay’ on anything said out of line. There has been policy announcements, budget, schools, NHS… et al. There have been shots fired from inside both Coalition Party’s and blanks from Labour.
There seems to be a concern, still, about Party identity, about Liberal Democrats poll ratings, about support for AV. I suspect that all this will sort itself out in due course. At present, it is reasonable to assume that the Party’s will seem as one, they are in Coalition, one Government.
We are about to enter the Party Conference Season and although it is rumoured that various Party Ministers will visit their Coalition partners conference, albeit to a fringe meeting The Party Conferences will be a chance for each Party to show it’s own identity once more. As for the poll ratings, there is again no surprise at this. The media (and Labour) are hounding Lib Dems on every Government move, with Nick Clegg being portrayed as David Cameron’s tea boy. So from a public prospective, what are they supposed to think, all they are being told by Labour is that the Coalition is bad and wrong and as for the media, they are just looking for good copy. I am not for one minute suggesting the public are stupid, but at present mis-guided. I’m certain the poll ratings will change nearer the next General Election. There were comments yesterday, via a report in the FT, I believe, that support for AV was falling sharply. This to me seems a bit early to be worrying. The date for the referendum being next May, there will be much more relevant debating nearer the time.
The other thing that is missing, at present, is a credible Opposition Party…
The Labour Leadership campaign is rumbling on (for too long in my opinion). The best that they have been able to do so far, in opposition, is disagree with anything the Government puts on the table and kick the Liberal Democrat’s for it being there. They have no policies of their own and the leadership contenders are merely point scoring at the Coalition’s expense. When they do, finally, have an elected leader (by AV, although they now oppose it for election of MP’s – okay for Labour members/unions, not for the general public) they may have valid arguments on policy. But at least there would be a debate. We may even have a balanced press, that can attack Labour policies too…
Labour had 13 years at Government, can they actually say their leaders didn’t make gaffs, say the wrong thing in the wrong place? Can they say that every policy they introduced worked? Can they say they never had to make U turns? Can they say that Ministers didn’t resign to for the good of the Country? Of course they can’t (it would be bigoted to say so), we’re all human…
So, although the Coalition has made it through the first 3 months, which some doubted, there is obviously a lot more to be done, with choppy waters ahead.
Judge not this Coalition on the first 100 days, judge it at the end of 5 years in Government (or longer, hopefully).