How to run a successful coalition

It is not easy running a successful coalition, particularly when the two parties in it disagree fundamentally about big issues like the role of the state, the EU, and the constitution.

Success comes from concentrating on a few crucial things that need doing where there is agreement. Strains occur when the Coalition government tries to stretch the agreement, to institutue radical reforms that do not have the whole hearted support of both parties or do not resonate with a large majority of the public. This Coalition has been very ambitious in what it wishes to change, with a result that there are strains in the alliance.

The Lib Dems got a great deal in the original negotiation. They decided to press on with large scale constitutional change. Their passion for a different voting system led to the voters rejecting the plan, when Conservative MPs allowed them to test opinion in a referendum. Very few Conservatives ever wanted a change to the voting system.

The Lib Dems tried to reform the House of Lords, against considerable opposition in the Lords and in the Conservative Parliamentary party. They abandoned it when they finally realised that it was not going to get through both Houses.

The Lib Dems decided perversely to impose high tuition fees on students, a reversal of their stance in the General Election. It turned out to be very unpopular policy, and does not even help the public accounts in the short term, given the state finance behind the loan scheme. Conservatives went along with Dr Cable’s scheme.

The Lib Dems succeeded in imposing a Mansion Tax Stamp Duty of 7% on dear properties, which has damaged the property market in central London and led to a halving of activity levels. They talked the Chancellor into a rise in Capital Gains Tax, which is now depressing CGT receipts.

The Conservatives insisted on seeking to control immigration, but are finding they can do nothing about EU immigration, where the Lib Dems do not wish to see a renegotiation or fundamental change in our relationship owing to Lib Dem views.

The Conservatives did veto the Fiscal treaty for the UK, and have demanded a better budget deal from the EU, but are not able to pursue the instincts of the party for a major change in our relationship as the Euro superstate emerges as quickly and as fully as Conservatives want.

The Conservatives did not succeed in curbing welfare spending as they wished thanks to differences with the Lib Dems.

The two parties did agree on an Income Tax cut through raising thresholds, which was popular. They did agreee to seek to cut the budget deficit, with majority support from the country. They did agreee the end of ID cards and a few other civil liberty measures at the beginning, but are becoming more authoritarian in office.

The disagreement over the response to Leveson shows how difficult it now is to do things together. As the leaders plan more than two more years of this, it would be a good idea to sit down and think about how they could use the time usefully. There are areas where they should agree. Why not more civil lilberty measures? Why not less nanny state? Why not more genuine devolution of power to Councils, companies, families and individuals? Why not do the job of cutting spending plans and deficit as originally stated but not yet fully executed?

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  1. Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    “The two parties in it disagree fundamentally about big issues like the role of the state, the EU…”

    Do you? You’ve kept very quiet about it. I thought both party front-benches to be pro-state, pro-EU. Are you saying that is not the case?

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Of course that is not the case. Conservative philosophy is for small government, big people. Lib Dems want all government done in Brussels with the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Lords and Commons, mother or parliaments, turned into a museum. They preach that democracy is a failed adventure Europe no longer needs. That is most certainly different from the Conservative view

      • Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

        Can you give some recent examples of tory small government, I may have missed them? I know there is talk of small government, I just haven’t seen any.

        • Posted December 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Heath, Major & Cameron are all big government, top down, central control people – they are quite simply not Tories – why on earth did they not join Labour or the Libdums.

  2. Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    It is not easy running a successful coalition, particularly one with the LibDems who have the wrong stance on nearly every issue, apart from some civil liberties. A stance that simply will not work in the real World. They believe in higher taxes rates, idiotic, non economic, green energy, the half witted green deal, the disastrous EU and Euro, giving money to the PIGIS and dictating everything from the top down. 7% turnover taxes on property are simply absurd people will just not move at all. It is all about the politics of envy and the warming religion over what actually works given human nature as it is.

    Do we want more genuine devolution of power to councils like Rotherham, certainly not with any real tax raising powers I would suggest. They would just over tax the productive and chase them away.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      I see that the new squatting law, one of the few positives this government has actually achieved, along with almost getting rid of HIP packs is pushing people now to squat in commercial properties. Why on earth were these exempt for the law? The BBC seems to be cheering all this “theft” of property along as usual.

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Until they squat in a BBC property?

        • Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:25 am | Permalink

          Oh the irony. Come on ‘Occupy’ Television centre looks nice and warm.

          (F0r the avoidance of doubt, this is of course satire, I am not encouraging any squatting).

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Any thoughts on the building industry upping their game and improving the build quality for the same price like the car industry does every year lifelogic or are they a special case and should not be required to do this either voluntary or by regulation/legislation or both. the 7% you refer to obviously is on properties over two million. Less than 1% of all house purchase approvals in 2011 were for properties worth over £2m and I don’t think an extra forty grand from the purchasers or sellers is to much for them to bare. Should we organise a charity event for them or cut benefits to the most poor to help them and stimulate the economy? Ram it.

        • Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          7% of 2M is £140K
          just under 2M it is 5 % so 100K quite expensive to move from one to another perhaps £200K all in for nothing.

          • Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            The 40k being the rise from 5-7%. The hardship one must face today being a millionaire…
            That nothing being the wealth and infrastructure of this country that in many cases has been used to obtain the millions required to purchase the property. It’s one tax they find difficult to avoid.
            In your fantasy world of no tax how is modern society supposed to operate. Tolls and fees for anything and everything? The poor supposed just take it lying down? A return to the 1900’s? Get real. You have no answers to this.

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Care to reference your accusations, even one example will do, against the BBC, no thought not….

        • Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          A good example of typical output was Ms Twaddle as per earlier JR postings, indeed almost any natural history program or even their inaccurate weather forecasts for climate bias. Almost all of woman’s hour apart from the cooking. You and yours is an endless call for ever more government.

          The constant stream of Polly Toybee think guests they invite to talk the usual drivel. The endless talk of government “investment”. The BBC’s total failure to understand that government money comes, not from some magic tree, but by taxing the productive and making them less productive as a direct result.

  3. Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The Lib Dems aren’t interested in civil liberty and less nanny state. They are socialists in everything but name. They talk the talk but do not walk the walk. As proof of that you only need to ask why they support a completely undemocratic, authoritarian regime in Brussels despite the obvious wishes of the British public.
    Also I suggest that your post is a bit disingenuous in trying to shift the blame for most of the coalition policy decisions entirely onto Cable and co. If Conservatives believe the policy is harmful or counterproductive why would they vote for it simply to avoid upsetting the “Sandalistas”. The tail wagging the dog?
    More likely is that Dave, George and minions are Lib Dems at heart and find it very useful to have scapegoats for policies that would otherwise cause uproar in the Tory party.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I agree that the Lib Dems civil liberty stance is very superficial, as they strive to push the UK further into the EUSSR.

      I also agree that Cameron is using the Libdems as a fig leaf to “pretend” he is a Tory and pretend he is against their nutty stance on many issues – this when in fact they are in accordance with his Ted Heath type of views.

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Agree with you Lifelogic, and Pete the Bike. It seems that now that the threat from UKIP has at long last been acknowledged by some at Conservative HQ, the Cons party is starting to sound much more Conservative in certain areas – just tentative steps. It is not being in the Coalition that has held them back but more the fact that the leadership thought it could pursue its left of centre policies safely without too much fall out amongst the electorate. Now that fantasy has been exposed, we have, for example, Nick Boles, for the first time stating loudly and clearly, that the need for the huge housebuilding programme of 100,000 new houses per year is needed in large part because of demands for housing immigrant. See excellent article in D Tel, plus quotes from Nick Boles in D Mail. Also Andrew Green of Migration Watch has some wise words on this.

      • Posted December 2, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        Right. At least Heath, in another day, had some reason to espouse his incorrect views. Cast Iron is a euro-socialist & PR man opportunist. Made in Oxford. John Redwood stands by with his “skeptic” colleagues awaiting Messiah to return & remove the gutted UK from some silly scraps of paper. What shame this dithering brings to his name; History will not be kind.

        Reply: We vote and speak against EU power in the Commons, with still no support from any UKIP MP. We influence the government to dismiss the Fiscal Treaty and the banking union because we are in the Commons and able to do so.

        • Posted December 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          To reply:- indeed, I agree UKIP will only help labour but Cameron is just Labour in all but name. This on the EU, on the economy, on tax rates and even on the quack energy religion. What is the difference?

          A new mugging of private sector pension pots planned too I hear.

        • Posted December 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Cast Iron is a euro-socialist & PR man opportunist. Made in Oxford (PPE).

          Alas it is true.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      “Completely undemocratic, authoritarian regime in Brussels”.

      Look, Brussels is far from perfect. But Westminster is far from perfect. And local councils are far from perfect. But to claim that they (any of them) are “undemocratic” and “authoritarian” is just plain ridiculous. Go live in a real undemocratic and authoritarian country before you start using such inflammatory language. Last I heard, there were both national and European elections to decide who was running Europe. Last I heard, there were even Europe-hating UKIP people in the European Parliament. Last I heard, the Eurocracy has not sent out their goon squads to make a hit on Pete the Bike.

      Reply Even if the UK elected only anti EU MEPs it would not change what the government of the EU does. If we elect different MPs it does change the UK government.

      • Posted December 2, 2012 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        Exactly. UKIP MP’s. Not coalition Quisling main-chancers!

      • Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        It is about time we started electing MEPs based on manifestos that say what they intend to do within the European parliament. It was noticable at the last election that the literature distributed by most of the candidates did not get anywhere near addressing this subject. They just talked about what their party was doing at Westminster which was completely irrelevant with regard to the EU election. In fact the only candidate who seemed to have any idea of what they were standing for election was the Green party candidate.

        As for UKIP they stood on a mandate that they didn’t want to be there and the performance of most of their MEPS has reflected that view rather than making any attempt to pursue British interests.

  4. Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The only thing they should focus on is the economy. This was said to be why they came together in the first place and yet they have so far failed. Cameron’s decision to go for coalition, rather than minority government followed by an early general election, has backfired. He may be happier with his LibDem colleagues than his own party but he is squandering the opportunity he was given. Without a drastic change in the economy, which looks unlikely given the failure to get to grips with it so far, both coalition parties are destined to humiliating defeat in 2015.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      A humiliating defeat in 2015 is surely inevitable. This from when Cameron lost the last election, by putting his fake green, soft socialist and broken cast iron guarantee agenda to the country. He could not even beat Brown when his word could, almost, be believed. He now has no credibility at all, a record of failure and no growth. Miliband may be rather pathetic but he is more credible than Brown.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      Cutting the deficit was to have been the overriding goal .
      Both sides agreed to eliminate it by 2015.

      There was a promising start; but then the Unison /Unite marches started and enthusiasm seemed to evaporate.

      Those who bore the brunt were defence who could and would not threaten to disrupt the bureaucracy ,and so have been rewarded by being cut to the bone.

      They both started with their hands tied on NHS and DFID,so we have had a series of tax rises in lieu of cost savings.

      I can’t see any prospect of a change of heart and tack to serious cost cutting in the Autumn Statement.
      But I live in hope !

  5. Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    When referring to ‘high tuition fees on students’ would you please add ‘in England only’ It is important that politicians recognise the extent of the policy. As much as most politicians want to pretend otherwise.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Indeed not even for many EU students as they often will not repay the loans. Mind you without growth many in the UK will never repay especially woman who tend to earn less and take career breaks. Figures I saw suggested that less than half of the loans will ever be repaid.

      Perhaps even less if Cameron fails to get some growth by cutting the largely parasitic state sector.

  6. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I agree.

    Why not a Coalition Planning Meeting attended by David Cameron and Nick Clegg, and chaired by ……… well let me think – who understands the issues, is good at seeing the big picture, has a good feeling for the politically possible and can sum up in a precise and concise manner????????? Readers of this blog do not have to look far, do we!!!!!!

  7. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Of course, the most bizarre thing is Cameron and the Tories who rely on England for their support refuse to address the English Question (or the skewed Barnett Formula). If they did that and had championed the need for democracy for the people of England whilst in opposition, England would now be governed by the government of it’s choosing, ie. the Tories (albeit with a Liberal PM) in the same way Scotland, Wales & Scotland are allowed the government of their choosing and it would not now be governed by this useless and pathetic coalition.

    It’s not only the duplicitous Lib Dems who deserve our contempt for tuition fees. We now have a higher education apartheid in the UK where only one part of it faces £9,000 tuition fees. Where is the level playing field for England’s young? It was an insult to every man, woman & child in England to see Danny Alexander & Jo Swinson vote in favour of £9,000 fees with Cameron’s blessing, knowing it would not affect their constituents and without a murmur of protest from Tory MPs. That was the day I resigned from the Conservative party when I realised they are just as anti-English as Labour and come 2015 the Tories will regret not having stood up for their English constituents and demanding an end to the undemocratic and discriminatory way they are governed both financially and politically. If England has another Labour Government foist on it against it’s wishes which looks likely, it will all be thanks to the Tories – shame on them!

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      The loans will largely not be repaid and most University courses are not actually worth £27,000. Why on earth does a degree, in say English need to cost £27,000. Books and even dons are quite cheap in these areas.

  8. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    To say that I dislike the coalition would be a considerable understatement of my actual thoughts, that said, the mere fact that the Cons and Libs are still rolling along is an astonishing achievement.

    Unfortunately, I am yet to be aware of and have not observed any tangible or accrued national benefit of said alliance.

  9. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    There is an assumption in this post that the party mix in the House of Commons will remain as it is.

    Surely it will be only a matter of time before a Conservative MP consults their constituents over the heads of the local party about switching to UKIP.

    For an ambitious MP, a switch to UKIP could be an eventual route to cabinet. After one MP does this, other will surely follow.

    This outcome could break the coalition.

    Reply: Dream on. THis is fantasy politics. Bob Spink switched to UKIP from Conservatives in a previous Parliament. He did not get into the Cabinet and subsequently lost his seat.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Comment on Reply–That sounds like a sample of one to me; therefore, as you would normally be the first to say, not too much weight should be placed on it, especially as it was in any event some years back when UKIP ‘s rating were lower and Nigel Farage had not started to shine through as he does now and ever increasingly so. All know how difficult it is to get over the first fence but all also know full well that make-up of the House of Commons has changed before many times (spoken to any Whigs lately?) and is likely to do so again.

  10. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    “The Lib Dems succeeded in imposing a Mansion Tax Stamp Duty of 7% on dear properties, which has damaged the property market in central London and led to a halving of activity levels.”

    Finally Mr. Redwood has found a political issue to sweep the Tories back into power. Those poor (mostly foreign) oligarchs who have taken over most of central London are flipping their houses less than they used to. What an affront to civilisation.

    If Mr. Redwood wants to be taken seriously about Stamp Duty then he should address the real problem with it, namely that the rate is absolute, not marginal.

  11. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    First time I can recall disagreeing with you, John.

    I’m not sure the sales of high end properties in Central London have been hit by the 7% stamp duty; in fact we are told (sadly I have no first hand experience of buying a multi-million pound property – I wish) the London market continues to defy gravity.

    Besides if someone can afford an £8m house then it’s hard to see why they can’t also afford to pay a 7% purchase tax on it, so long as it’s not avoided by way of some dodgy offshore scheme of course.

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Sales volumes have definitely declined according to Land Registry data, although prices are still soaring: I noted that after a number of premium sales at around £4,000 per sq ft, prime agents decided to suggest that £6,000 per sq ft was the new price target.

      The market has the characteristics of a “blow-off top”.

      Proper analysis of the benefit to the UK economy would look at the funds captured by selling to foreign buyers when they resell later at lower prices. With so much expensive property already in foreign hands, there is probably little new foreign money coming in on a net basis. Perhaps we could sell off the stock of council houses at bubble prices to overseas landlords, and repossess them later at crash values.

  12. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    From reading your posting today John, anyone would think it is the LibDems who are in charge.
    Certainly they punched above their weight in the initial set up (getting far too much influence and ministerial positions) but also appear to be doing so on a day – day basis, by constantly briefing against any policy they do not like or wish to support.

    The Lib Dems for years were a Party that had no hope of being elected in their own right, and were a safe haven for those voters who wanted to dream of a socialist state without any idea or thought of what it would actually cost.
    Now their supporters are finding out that some socialist policies have real cost implications in the form of increased taxation or limitation of service, they are abandoning ship.

    Cameron made a big mistake in hitching himself to forming a coalition government thinking it would be popularist.

    The game plan now must be to distance the Conservative Party from all things LibDem, and the only way to do that is to restore some traditional Conservative values to policies, and try to attract back some traditional Conservative voters who have gone walkabout.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      @alan jutson: “From reading your posting today John, anyone would think it is the LibDems who are in charge.

      Many would say that they are! How long do you think the Tories as a minority government will retain the confidence of the house if the LDs walk, this is what many on right (both here in this blog and in the House) are forgetting, the Tories actually need to pamper and occasionally indulge the LDs unless you want the Conservatives back sitting to the left of the speakers chair – as viewed from the speakers chair. Funny that, the last February general election was also because of a deeply unpopular Tory leader attempting to keep his head above the economic storm…

  13. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    “The Lib Dems got a great deal in the original negotiation. They decided to press on with large scale constitutional change.”

    A selective recitation of reality as usual. Mr. Redwood conveniently forgets that the Tories have also tried to get large scale political change through the system in terms of constituencies based on registered voters rather than population (which, surprise, would just happen to benefit the Tories).

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      The political change was the creation of pocket boroughs with large elements of the population not entitled to vote, and the extension of the postal vote in ways that make voting fraud easy to achieve.

  14. Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The Coalition has run out of steam and appears to have lost its primary sense of purpose which was to get the economy in better shape. I have no confidence that it has any chance of doing so in the fag end of this Parliament. That said, no doubt the instinct for prolonging their political surviva,l in what passes for power, will keep them together until the bitter end.

  15. Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    What a biased summary of the coalition. Every Libdem proposal that failed is blamed on them. Every Libdem proposal that succeeded was a joint proposal. There seem to be no Conservative proposals that failed!

    All of the proposals were agreed by the coalition and if your party had any guts you would be taking equal responsibility. Which party was the major one in the coalition and so the most influence on all decisions?

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Supposedly the Conservative Pary, but they seem rather feeble and unable to stand up to the Lib Dems on anything substantial. Anyone would think that their leadership lacked any real principles to their political thinking….


      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        @Zorro: The problem with the Tories is many on the right of the party keep forgetting that they don’t actually have a majority, how long do they think a minority Tory government would last – I wonder what odds Ladbrooks are now giving on a February or March 2013 general election, other than a ministerial/parliamentary salary for the next two and half years what remains for many of the LibDem MPs?…

  16. Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry about it JR, take the money and applaud the show the 1% are putting on for the 99%. There is very very little chance of any jail time for bankster frauds; (or for those facing allegations about misconduct in the hacking scandals) OK, the 1%, has to put up a few sacrificial lambs, but they will be looked after; they will be rewarded with a nice little earner whilst off stage. They will be brought back into the 1% Club, when the baying plebs have forgotten about it.

    Or, MPs could spend time till the next pygmy parliament election, understanding the difference between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. Particularly why stuff like the Equalities Act end up creating “Rights” for homosexuals while it tramples over the “Liberties” of the rest of us. As they write in FindLawUK:- “Although legal scholars have debated the question whether there is a form of fundamental law that gives rise to “constitutional rights” in the UK, the consensus view seems to be that there is not. The legal protection for people’s civil rights and civil liberties instead arises from statutory law and treaties(such as the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights).

    Perhaps the main, widely-acknowledged constitutional principle that protects people’s rights and liberties in the UK is the supremacy of Parliament. This is,in effect, the principle that Parliament is not in any way restricted in its-law-making authority. A Parliament cannot bind future Parliaments, and therefore any Act of Parliament can be subsequently altered or repealed.

    The supremacy of Parliament would appear to apply to all UK law relating to civil rights and civil liberties. Even ancient statutory protections can be repealed. As indicated above, most of the provisions of the Magna Carta were repealed by Parliament after being valid law for centuries. In addition, it would seem that the UK courts’ powers under the Human Rights Act 1998 — which are granted by statute — are also subject to any future Parliamentary action.”

    Reply: Indeed, the supermacy of Parliament should guarantee our liberties, but is currently constrained by acceptance of EU and ECHR law

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      I think that Parliament should guarantee our fundamental liberties which are already established……but not constrain them in the manner of a elective dictatorship. I don’t like the idea of Parliament doing away with some basic liberties and freedoms which are our birthright which the logic of non binding Parliaments could challenge. Some things are too important to give to a Parliament for supposed safekeeping. This is the advantage that the US Constitution has over us e,g. They have the first amendment, whilst some people here are scrabbling around asking Parliament to potentially constrain it.


  17. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “Their passion for a different voting system led to the voters rejecting the plan, when Conservative MPs allowed them to test opinion in a referendum.”

    Again, the referendum was on the dirty little compromise not on a proportional system, nor offering a choice of systems. I’d put two vote MMP ahead of FPtP, but FPtP ahead of AV. Opinion was not tested, a range of electoral systems could have been offered if opinion were truly being sort.

    “The disagreement over the response to Leveson shows how difficult it now is to do things together. As the leaders plan more than two more years of this …”

    I wonder how much of this behaviour is a consequence of having a coalition that will be followed by a FPtP election; a system that is so non-linear that the LibDems could again be kingmakers or lost forever and replaced by Green/UKIP/Respect protest votes.

  18. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Last night I attended a fund raising event in Scotland. I was struck by the unity of purpose and sense of nation shown by the people who were from all walks of life. A sense of belonging that is not present in England because the Socialists have effectively wrecked it. (And no these were not SNP supporters who want independence). England does not have a sense of nation and common purpose.

    The future seems bleak to me. I cannot see how the Conservatives can get elected in 2015 if they follow their present policies on Socialism, Europe and Immigration. UKIP is a hope but not a certainty. There are some possible but unpalatable alternatives if we think “outside the box”. I table some wacky options to mirror the general feeling of disappointment and disillusion with present politicians and the political classes.

    We might be better breaking off the UK into separate states, England (run by the Conservatives), with Scotland and Wales running themselves and raising what monies they can from their own people. ie no penalisation for being English, living in England and subsiding everyone else. At the same time Ireland could become one nation and left in peace to get on with it. We could then control our borders properly with a strict visa system like the USA. Entry would be a privilege and not a right for non nationals.

    A better alternative is to join Europe fully and let the Germans with their work ethic, low inflation and general financial prudence run our economy for us. In living memory there are few govt’s here that have run it well.

    As a final “out of the box” idea – we could become the (n + 1) th state of America and give the US the bridgehead it wants into Europe.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      You miss the the obvious in your post. Scotland as a nation has a strong sense of social justice this being the reason for the Conservatives stance on socialism as you point out making a Scottish Tory as rare as the Loch Ness monster.

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      As I am cleaning out old bookmarks, this may complement your post?

      “Paradoxically enough, the release of initiative and enterprise made possible by popular self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again after freedom has brought opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent, the incompetent and the unfortunate grow envious and covetous, and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the Golden Calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be … “. [Where do you think we are in this list. Acorn].

      Bondage to Spiritual Faith;
      Spiritual Faith to Courage;
      Courage to Freedom;
      Freedom to Abundance;
      Abundance to Selfishness;
      Selfishness to Complacency;
      Complacency to Apathy;
      Apathy to Fear;
      Fear to Dependency;
      Dependency to Bondage.

      Henning W. Prentis, Industrial Management in a Republic, 1946.

  19. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    “Why not do the job of cutting spending plans and deficit as originally stated but not yet fully executed?”

    I had to laugh at that. It was the ONE thing both Clegg and Cameron agreed on at the very outset of the coalition, the first order of business was to get the deficit under control. It’s turned into a fiasco, of course, we’ve suffered the easy bit for the government, the growth-stunting tax rises, but where are the spending cuts? Too often I read of how the latest public borrowing numbers have reached a new record high.

    Mr Osborne’s latest wheeze to cut the deficit by grabbing the money that the government should have paid to the BoE for QE just shows how he is completely and utterly lacking in any sort of credible plan to actually cut the deficit. His supposed planned spending cuts will NEVER materialise, we only have 30 months until the election, so it would be folly to start cutting seriously now. I have been saying this for over a year now, by the way, and each day vindicates my scepticism.

    In the meantime Cameron continues down the path to electoral suicide by pursuing his stupid minimum pricing policy for alcohol. Does he really imagine that every Conservative voter is either abstemious or else quaffs a £50 bottle of Shiraz in the evenings? Inflation is already far too high and evidently the government doesn’t care about it one jot. A large increase in the price of basic, low cost wine, beer or spirits will probably alienate FAR more voters in 2015 that the EU or any other issue. The government MUST get a grip on the rising cost of what we need to live, which is not even remotely reflected in the official inflation numbers. We can’t eat iPads or heat our homes with them.

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Very few if any of them quaff a bottle of wine costing more than £4.20 and so would be unaffected by the minimum price proposal.

  20. Posted December 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “The Lib Dems got a great deal in the original negotiation.”

    The corollary of which is that the deal negotiated on behalf of English Conservative voters by Oliver Letwin was very poor for them although possibly more in tune with the beliefs of the theaforementioned individual.

    Now that the electorate, which had been assiduously voting over the years for the Goldilocks party, have had a taste of the dish this oddly rebarbative collection serves up in power, their popular mandate has evapourated according to recent by-election results; no longer the party of protest, no longer the party of anything at all, they should now be removed from material influence on the course of the government. For them, extinction in two years time is better than extinction now.

  21. Posted December 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Energy Policy has all the hallmarks of a deal between two parties that can not agree. Instead of running with the winning argument following an informed debate the Coalition seems to me to have split difference and ended up with a load of rubbish.

    On the one hand all are clamouring for growth but on the other hand policy is intentionally putting up energy costs and there by undermining the ability to generate growth.

    One the one hand industry is going to have to pay more for energy but on the other hand not if you have enough influence to get special treatment.

    And overhanging it all is ignored the fact that it does not matter a jot what the UK does for the so called Green Agenda as our impact is irrelevant and our influence on other, relevant countries in such matters is nil.

  22. Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    …. ” Why not more civil lilberty measures? Why not less nanny state? Why not more genuine devolution of power to Councils, companies, families and individuals? ”

    Quite, John.

    Can we conclude that the Ministers have finally ‘gone native’ with their civil service masters? Especially the Home Office.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      The pursuit of trying to compel companies to collect and make available for immediate inspection communication data to the authorities could be classed as a tad authoritarian. Too much potential collateral intrusion into the privacy of otherwise innocent citizens….


  23. Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The Lib Dems are simply off the planet, and as such, are dangerous and should never be anywhere near government. I was heartened to see how many people rejected them at the recent parliamentary bi-elections. At long last, the people are seeing through them, but not before time.

    I recall campaigning on the doorstep for a very senior Conservative friend a few years ago, and being met with a most curious assertion.

    ‘…….I’m not voting Tory again. You’re not Euro-sceptic enough. I’m voting Lib Dem this time!’

    Maybe the penny has finally dropped, and those who contemplate voting Lib Dem can now see how crazy such a course of action is. Their policies certainly don’t bear close scrutiny, especially their views on law and order, and their pro-EU stance. And as the policies of the EU become clearer, and equally questionable, the resentment towards it is also building, so to ally themselves with anything to do with it, is also to ally themselves with proven, and abject failure.

    So too is the realisation that it was primarily the Tories who delivered the EU mess to us, so people are gradually turning to UKIP who are growing in credibility. So there is the stark message to Mr Cameron. Be much more Euro-sceptic, or go under, even if it places a strain on the coalition. Because not to do so, is to fly in the face of growing public opposition, as the Lib Dems are now finding to their cost.

    It wouldn’t be so bad were Mr Cameron out on a limb, but supporting something that could ultimately work to the UK’s benefit, where the arguments hadn’t quite yet been won, but the EU has consistently and increasingly been shown to be an unworkable nonsense. It is a shambles, and with the EU’s own auditors refusing to endorse the EU’s accounts for the 18th year in a row, it shows no sign of change or badly needed reform. And the UK stands to be out-voted in perpetuity by the have-nots, in any future attempts to reform it. So the bottom line that the pro-Europeans seem so keen to defend is, they waste it, we pay for it, and there’s nothing we can do about it, because the system has been manipulated that way.

    I feel physically sick when I recall John Major clicking his fingers as he walked out of the meeting that secured our opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty, as if he’d well and truly cracked it. In reality, through his myopia and incompetence, he and his pro-EU Heath-ite cohorts had blown it – big time! What an opportunity than man missed!

    Some will inevitably hide behind a smokescreen. ‘Ah yes’ they say confidently, ‘but Britain has to be at the heart of Europe in order to change it.’

    Bunkum! It’ll never happen! Always jam tomorrow, just as long as we sign up for this, or give in to that, and just take a look at the legislation that’s already in the pipeline which threatens to chain us to it for good! Unless we take decisive action soon, we’ll go down with it.

    To reform the EU and all it’s works, I favour a wholly different solution – it’s called withdrawal and it’s disintegration. The UK could then engineer and streamline our own economy to our own tastes, and set the example for others to follow. Rather than be reliant upon other countries to pay for bloated and inefficient governments who preside over inadequate, spendthrift economies, each member state could follow our example, cut their own waste, be competitive, or go under.

    That’s the best way, and the least expensive way, but is diametrically opposed to the position taken by the short-sighted loonies who believe that state control of everything is the only way.

    Tad Davison


    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Given that UKIP lost every by-election to Labour, which favours remaining in the EU, there’s no reason to believe that being eurosceptic will guarantee votes.

  24. Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    The increased stamp duty threshold on expensive properties could be blamed for central London residences being sold to Russians, who are exempt from the stamp duty.
    I blame Vince Cable.

  25. Posted December 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The LibDems won’t get near to office for 100 years after 2015. They are being reduced to a minority party the next big three will be Lab, Con and UKIP. So 2015 will see a Lab gov and 2020 a Con-Ukip coalition.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Under a new Mrs Thatcher perhaps? Or after the military coup d’etat (as so nearly came about under Mr Wilson).

  26. Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    How to ‘run’ a coalition ? There shouldn’t even be a coalition. That there is is indicative of the failure of democracy in the UK and the under-representation of millions of C1/C2 people.

    The McCann (Leveson) petition stands at 50,000. Pretty abysmal bearing in mind millions of pounds worth of free BBC advertising for it. It might make six figures but the BBC advertising cannot go unnoticed for much longer and interest can only wane.

    Those who support it are insistant that there is mass public outrage about the tabloid press. The figures show clearly that there isn’t. Around sixty million people haven’t signed it.

    Whereas 4 million people have stopped voting for the Tory party.

    I’ll give you a clue. It isn’t because the BBC tell us that you are bad.

  27. Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The latest idea from David Cameron with regard to minimum pricing and binge drinking is just downright silly and naive. Target the troublemakers and leave the law abiding folks that like a couple of drinks alone. Similarly, this government has got to do something about the decline of our pubs. There is now no question that the smoking ban has decimated the pub trade. It makes no sense at all to try and develop a ‘ cafe culture ‘ in this country when we have not got acceptable weather conditions in order for it to work. The anti smokers have failed to ‘flock ‘ to the pubs to give them support, and honest publicans are losing their business, jobs are being lost and the economy is suffering. Why not re- grade pubs with adult only venues on offer, good ventilation and signs stipulating smoking is allowed here. Smoking rooms is another option. I might add that all the hatred directed at people who enjoy a cigarette has failed miserably in relation to the number of people who have actually stopped smoking. All it has done is lose money for the treasury and put the hospitality industry in disarray

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Nanny statism at its worse…..inconveniencing or taxing the vast majority of the well behaved population to supposedly crack down on the weaker brethren….


    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      Pub were declining long before the smoking ban and will continue to decline even if it is reversed. Society is changing and pubs are simple no longer relevant for most people, so they will disappear just like butchers, bakers, and electrical goods stores.

      • Posted December 2, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        ‘Pubs are no longer relevant to most people ‘
        Sums it up nicely I think. You are not interested in going to a pub so in your opinion they are not relevant and should be done away with. I would disagree as would so many right minded folk.
        The Conservative party. Free markets, enterprise and support for small businesses. I fail to understand why this party is supporting the crass thinking of Nu-Labour.

  28. Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    My impression was the the Lib Dems agreed to high tuition fees because it as a necessary condition for creating a stable government and that they believed stable government was desperately needed at the time John and they felt they should do it despite the horrific consequences for the party as to not do it would have much worse consequences for the country.

    However you claim they did it perversely – “Showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable”.

    Do you have any evidence for this claim?

    Are you suggesting things would have been better with the Tory scheme which was constructed to be much more of a barrier to those from poor backgrounds entering university?

    “The disagreement over the response to Leveson shows how difficult it now is to do things together.”

    No John. It shows that the Conservative party want’s to keep its cosy relationship with the press rather than seeing the nurturing of a press which acts in the interest of the public.

    Rwply: The Coalition Agreement allowed the Lib Dems to oppose tuition fees, leave the Conservative Minister to make a proposal, and then abstain on the vote. Instead Dr Cable read the Report, made up his own tuition scheme, and placed a 3 line whip on it for both Coalition parties. We will never know what a Conservative Minister would have proposed, though it would most likely have been a version of higher fees. The difference was Conservatives had not ruled out higher fees in the election whereas Lib dems campaigned against them!

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      “The difference was Conservatives had not ruled out higher fees in the election whereas Lib dems campaigned against them!”

      I’d managed to notice that one 🙂

      Any comment on the second point?

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      It is necessary in a coalition for the two parties to support each other and take on each others proposals. It is completely wrong for a member of one of the coaltion paties to criticise the other party for doing that. The stance the Libdems took on tuition fees was done to support their partners in the coalition. The last thing the Tories should be doing is lambasting them for adopting what was after all just a small modification of what they wanted.

  29. Posted December 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Here are two areas where there must be consensus:
    1. Cutting the size of the State so that the deficit and debt (remember them?) are to be seriously reduced.
    2. Doing something serious about border control when the EU is not affected. Multi culturalism simply does not work. People do not stop being terrorists, savages (West Side Boys), or carriers of mortal diseases just because they get onto a plane. Australia and Canada control their borders strictly; why are we not allowed to?

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      “Multi culturalism simply does not work.”

      It works perfectly to the end intended, namely, the destruction of the European peoples’ national and cultural identities.

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, a key component of Frankfurt school marxist theory….


        • Posted December 3, 2012 at 2:57 am | Permalink

          And they have “marched through the institutions” burning down & perverting our traditions. But we survive & by the Grace of God the restoration will be severe.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


      I see the Planning Minister has now finally smelt the bacon/coffee.

      Todays Daily Mail reports that because of immigration we need more homes !.

      Well you could knock me down with a feather, so an increased population requires more housing, what a revelation.

      Perhaps next year he may realise that we may also need more schools, more hospital beds, more jobs, more roads etc, etc.

      Yes aware immigration is being reduced, but from frightening levels, we still (invite in a net additional-ed) 160,000 per year it is reported.
      This is simply not sustainable.

      • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        The net migration figure does not tell the whole picture as it is not really that accurate and does not discriminate about the calibre of various immigrants/emigrants…..


  30. Posted December 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Re “The Conservatives insisted on seeking to control immigration, but are finding they can do nothing about EU immigration” is stretching the truth a bit.

    Remember for one I know what Francis Maude has been saying to the Indian outsourcers first hand. What Cameron said out in India was widely reported in the press in India. Boris has said stuff many times counter to your assertion.

    The truth is the senior Conservatives trust the advice they get from a small number of businessmen far too much. Far too little understanding of the substance. Far too little exprience of the real world.

    Camerons Conservsatives are full steam ahead for open doors immigration, and Boris would be even more so.

    Expect the UKIP vote to grow and grow and grow.

    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Particularly so on no limits revolving door Tier 2 ICT and the new potential route opening under Tier 5…..


    • Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Expect the UKIP vote to grow and grow and grow.

      Expect Labour to be in power for the next decade or more then!
      UKIP is only splitting the vote on the right, whilst Labour is likely to gain votes from the LibDems – Vote UKIP, get Labour…

  31. Posted December 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    The public want the freedom to choose how they live their lives, but both parties want to nanny us.

  32. Posted December 1, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    “Why not …..?”

    Because you’re talking about the woolly-wet’ prevaricating Lib-Dems – that why NOT!

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Why do you adopt this attitude to the Libdems? According to the tone adopted in this article the only party in the coalition that made any proposals that were adopted were the Libdems even if some of them were joint proposals. That seems to indicate that it perhaps was the other party in the coalition that was “woolly-wet prevaricating”

      • Posted December 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Because it’s the ones that were prevented from being adopted. The LibDems had two bites of a cherry over some precious ideologies but chose to throw their collective toys out of the pram when other Conservative proposals were put forwartd – that’s why.
        P.S. I am not a member of the Conservative Party.

  33. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I think it unlikely that the Conservative Party leadership disagrees much with the LibDem leaders. The Con members may include a majority who do not but also a significant minority who are definitely Clark-ites and differ in no meaningful way from Clegg.

    What we need is a re-alignment of parties but that will not happen while tribalism remains the rule

  34. Posted December 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    The only way to run a coalition is to cement it into law so we, the people, cannot be asked for our opinion when some completely idiotic decisions are made. The legislation this incompetent toddler passed on getting into government was to make 5 year terms part of the law. This little b………d knew he could not hold it all together so he did the only weak thing he could and stop us kicking him out when he failed. Gay marriage anyone ???! or is it foxhunting this time !!!!

  35. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    John as you’re trying to pretend that the Conservatives haven’t been behind several unpopular policies does this mean an election or more by-elections are coming up?

    The Conservatives have gained far more under the Coalition agreement that the Lib Dems as they were able to treble tuition fees, force schools to become academies, start privatising the NHS, force the unemployed to go on the 2 year long Work Programme, undermine minimum wage with the apprentice wage, and give the richest 1% a tax cut.

    Given how many Conservatives are worried about UKIP splitting the Eurosceptic vote I’m surprised that they didn’t want AV. Especially since they didn’t object to using AV to elect police commissioners.

    Given that the House of Lords reform passed with a majority of over 300 in the Commons and the Parliament act allows the Commons to bypass the Lords it’s clear that this bill was abandoned because of pressure from a minority of Conservative MPs, not because it would be impossible to get it passed. This is a clear example of the executive ignoring the will of the legislator.

    John no matter how many times you try to blame the Lib Dems for tuition fees being trebled no one believes your lies. The Conservatives were calling for unlimited tuition fees and only accepted trebling of them because they couldn’t force the Lib Dems to vote for a higher increase. Had the Conservatives opposed raising tuition fees, as you like to pretend John, they would have voted against raising them.

    Given that the Conservatives have failed to reduce non-EU immigration to tens of thousands they promised and have made it even easier for companies to import workers into the UK using ICT there’s no point in blaming the Lib Dems for not reducing EU immigration.

    The Conservatives did manage to curb some welfare spending by forcing the disabled off disability benefits and onto the lower job seekers allowance using ATOS (though two thirds of appeals reversed these decisions) and they’re on track to removed child benefit from the middle class.

    You’re right about both parties wanting to reduce income tax; the Lib Dems wanted to increase personal allowances to help the poorest, while the Conservatives wanted to removed the 50% tax rate to help the richest 1%. Though the Lib Dems were able to raise personal allowances few people benefited because the Conservatives lowered the threshold for the 40% tax rate. Odd that you forgot about this.

    While the Coalition did agree to cut the budget deficit it’s a pity that the Chancellor keep raising it by increasing the amount of money he borrows nearly every month. Well I guess you can’t blame the Lib Dems for everything.

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I find it rather amusing to watch Lib Dems scurrying away from the idea of AV, which would in present circumstances cost them rather more seats than it would gain them.

  36. Posted December 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Though the word disgrace has lost all currency in today’s UK politics (due to the obvious conspiracy to eliminate all authetic Conservative policy by means of an open conspiracy) I do think Mr. Redwood gives a last example of “disgrace”. In “going along with Dr. Cable” the current “democratic”-socialist regime achieved the permanent alienation of the next generations from the (former) Tory party. Bravo!

  37. Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    “It is not easy running a successful coalition, particularly when the two parties in it disagree fundamentally about big issues like the role of the state, the EU, and the constitution.”

    I don’t really agree with that statement.

    There is surprising little difference on these issues between the Conservative Leadership and the Liberal party. They are natural bedfellows. All pro big state, EU membership. So it’s not that difficult ‘running’ the show at all especially if the voices of backbenchers that can’t be ‘bought off” by the whips are ignored on the whole. So apart from a few loony constitutional changes, how does Cameron and Clegg really differ

  38. Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Why noy proper devolution to England by granting it its own parliament on the same basis as the one in Scotland?

  39. Posted December 2, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the current main political parties really believe that there will be no UKIP MPs after the next election or is it only the coalition that believe the UKIP voters will sink a lot of their candidates and labour will escape unscathed.
    Regarding your record above of agreements and non agreements with the Liberals it proves really that coalitions spend much energy trying to outwit each other for electoral advantage and the policies we need get stuffed in the process or get kicked into the long grass. Therefore Cameron picks on policies that are of insignificant effect and interest to most of us but may be populist and headline grabbing. Parliamentary debates are interesting and may throw much needed light into issues but if they do not result in better laws or regulation or even less laws and regulation that are obsolete they are of little effective use.
    Therefore we are now at this stage of the present government where the big vital issues are still moribund. National development, eg airports, roads, building, power provision renewal etc are still being tossed around. National policies on immigration and EU emasculation for instance are mishandled and a national disgrace, and history will be harsh on those who appended their names to these disasters.
    The BBC appears to be allowing the UKIP rise to be simply a matter of “None of the above” on election returns for the main parties, as some kind of protest vote rather than a massive and increasing rejection of policies. Previous labour minister heard on the BBC saying UKIP would not win a seat at the next election, he could be right but there will be a massive effort to prove him wrong.

    Most of us do have a EU ID card its called a driving license.
    The government can ignore the EU dictat on immigration safely, Switzerland has been in breach of its quota for years to little EU effect.
    The government is well aware of its inability to pursue the repatriation of competencies without all 27 members agreement or withdrawal. Whining is not good leadership.
    £9K a term for student fees was supposed to be for those course that were expensive, and needed to be agreed by government per course per university, what happened?
    Finally you will never agree anything substantive with the Liberals and they are a mistake that will not be eradicated until the next election even the liberals will agree when they are wiped out . But od course most of them will spend the next two years giving away the family silver to get a sinecure in the EU or any company / Org that will employ them for favours given. Or am I being too cynical.

    • Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      It was entirely predictable that most university fees would be set at £9,000 – which is not enough to cover average costs, as there is still an element of block grant on top of government funding for research etc.

      Any university that offers a lower price is signalling that its course isn’t “worth it”, and risks seeing student applications fall in consequence.

  40. Posted December 2, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I assume that there will be further deficit reduction measures in the April 2013 budget, which will be turned into a Finance Act by roughly June 2013. After that, it will probably be best if the Conservatives govern as a minority, incurring the odd defeat. I don’t think it will be too difficult to persuade the LibDems not to vote for a Labour No Confidence motion until the LibDems have recovered their popular vote (if they do). There won’t be much of an objection to a divorce by Vince Cable. The advantage to the Conservative Party is that it would allow it to develop its European policy unhindered.

  41. Posted December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    How to run a successful coalition?

    Keep all the disagreements within Cabinet and present a united front on every matter within the public domain.

    Make sure that all members of the Government are subject to the same rules, interpreted in the same way, with the same outcomes following any breach of discipline.

    Break those rules and it will destroy the minority Party, as Clegg has discovered.

    Party differentiation should have been left until after the Coalition had ended; a successful coalition would have left the minority party in a strong position, with the electorate confident in its abilities to participate in Government and moderate any perceived policy extremes emanating from the major coalition partner.

  42. Posted December 2, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The public did not reject the voting reform the LibDems wanted. They rejected the middle option, which nobody strongly wanted but was what the Tories were willing to discuss.

    A referendum on real PR remains overwhelmingly popular and is something the Tories are going to have to accept if they are to come to an agreement with UKIP. As a general rule any small party that forms a coalition with a larger party that can wipe them out with just a tiny swing of opinion is a turkey voting for an early Cgrustmas- UKIP won’t do it and I doubt the LibDems will fall for it again either.

  43. Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    “It is not easy running a successful coalition, particularly when the two parties in it disagree fundamentally about big issues like the role of the state, the EU…”

    This statement would be very true if UKIP was in coalition with the Lib Dems. There is no difference between the Conservatives and the Liberals. You seem to forget the majority of Conservative MPs actually agree with the Lib Dems on bigger government and more EU. The EU referendum vote did not pass because the majority of MPs in your party voted with the Lib Dems and Labour to prevent one. A quarter of Conservative MPs who want a smaller state and less or no British involvement in the EU does not represent the Conservative Party as a whole. Lib/Lab/Con are all the same, they take the voters for granted and the voters let them.

  44. Posted December 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    The problem the Conservatives are having is, they gave far to much leway to the Lib Dems, they allowed them to cream off the ‘the way forward’ let them assume they were in power; they have come to believe it. Such was the desire to form a government at all costs and not have majority less government and stop Labour from having control. They were looking to the Brown era, the spending spree, and the increasing debt burden, which was created by banks and the Labour party.
    Now we have an over bloated Liberal Democrats who seem to think they hold the power within government, the power to blackmail the Conservatives, like saying they will quit and bring down the government. Yes, they have in some areas tamed the Conservatives dreams of dismantling the welfare state in one parliament; without thinking of the damage it will do to many lives. I’m all for curbs, but they must be done gradually to lesson the pain, sensibly, to allow for adjustment in society. Most of all we must have growth and jobs for people to go for; at the moment we don’t have them. So, demonising the unemployed as become the mantra of this government, but not all unemployed are the same. Those who have worked are being classed with those who have ‘never’ worked, and that is not right. I think the language, the onslaught, against the unemployed has become discrimitary, and while this government spends £15 billion on foreign aid their arguement is flawed. Foreign shores are not our responsiblity, they have their own governments for that.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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