This is today’s blog for www.johnredwood.com which technical problems stopped me posting. I apologise to readers for the delay. I can also now catch up with contributions – I have been unable to ac cess the moderator’s pages.
I am glad the Conservatives and Lib Dems formed a stable government in May. This country needs a government that can tackle the deficit and straighten out our damaged economy and finances. I thought an agreement by the Lib Dems to vote for supply and confidence, and other policies which they liked would have suited both parties better, but the Leaders decided they wanted to agree more. This decision has led to Lib Dem difficulties with student finance, defending a scheme their own Minister proposed.
I have not been surprised by the comments of Lib Dems caught out by creative journalists, apart from Mr Cable’s unprofessional and embarrassing remarks about a media bid. I am all in favour of more open discussion within government. It has always been a myth that Cabinet colleagues agree and think the same when a government is formed by a single party. It is likely to entail even more disagreement when two parties sit round the same governing table. Knowing a bit more about the arguments and disagreements can be healthy, not disruptive.
One of the things I do not like is the “new narrative” that Lib Dems have come into the government to bridle the instincts of Conservatives. This story line entails allowing Lib Dems to claim credit for all the nice things that Happen. As a Conservative I have campaigned long and hard for less income tax on the lower paid. I do not take kindly to being told we only have it thanks to Lib dems. As a Conservative I helped oppose the erosion of our civil liberties under Labour, and look forward to their restoration under this government. Again, there is no Lib Dem monopoly over civil liberties. The Conservative party wanted to spend more per pupil on educating those from the poorest and least privileged backgrounds. The pupil premium was not just a Lib Dem wish.
The main disagreements between the parties have always revolved around Europe and the attitude towards enterprise and success. Many Conservatives will judge the Coalition by how well it changes the endless drift towards more EU government and bureaucracy. Conservatives also want to see success rewarded and enterprise praised. It is in these areas there will be real inter party disagreements – not over lower taxes for the lower incomes, or over the restoration of liberty.