What will the Coalition government be remembered for?


             Most MPs want the Coalition government to be a one term government. Labour wants to replace it, Conservatives want to win a majority next time in their own right.  Some Lib Dems would rather form a Coalition next time with Labour, hoping the numbers would allow them to do so. This makes it an unusual government, as most of its members are not dreaming of a second term for the government they support.

              When the government set out its stall a year ago it told us it wanted to do two big things. It wanted to bring the deficit down, stabilising the country’s finances. It wanted to be a reforming government, changing education, health and welfare and public service more generally.  It wanted to do both these in a five year period, and legislated to underwrite its intention to govern for a full five years. So how is it getting on?

               In its first year it did cut the deficit a little, by raising taxes. The deficit fell by £13 billion, whilst taxes went up by  £35.8 billion. The plan based mainly on cuts in public spending in practice turned out to be a plan based on a forecast large increase in revenue, with a 5.3% increase in public spending in the first year. It seems likely that they will reduce the deficit more over the life of the Parliament, but also seems likely the revenues will undershoot current forecasts whilst spending in cash terms continues to rise. We should  expect steady but not dramatic progress in cutting the rate of increase in public borrowing.

               In the first year it set out boldly on a wide range of public sector reforms. The Prime Minister let us know that he had learnt from Tony Blair not to waste the first term as PM. He said he wanted to be seen as a reforming PM: “I want us to make our schools and hospitals among the best in the world. To open them up and make them more competitive, more local and more transparent. To give more choice to those who use our public services and more freedom to the professionals who deliver them”

               The Education reforms based on introducing more academies and free schools have gone through at a fast pace. There is momentum in the academies programme. Conservatives are disappointed there will not be more grammar schools, as many see these schools as the best way to encourage upwards academic mobility for all those who cannot afford independent school fees, but pleased with progress otherwise.

                The Health reforms are being paused. It is too early to say how much of the pioneering enthusiasm of the White Paper, prepaerd jointly by the Coalition partners and approved in the Letwin-Alexander review will survive.  Key to the plans – in the manifestos of both Coalition parties – was offering more choice to patients and more competitive pressure on provision to raise standards and to control costs. The German system of healthcare, for example, is largely delivered through charitable sector and private sector hospitals. Will the UK go further in that direction, set up by the previous Labour government? At the moment it is looking more likely that the government will back away from some of the Blair reforms.

                  The forest reforms and changes were dropped after a strong campaign against them. I never understood why the heritage forests were included in the plans, as that was always going to be contentious. Will the Coalition government even sell as much commercial forest as Labour did? Time will tell.

                 The welfare benefits reform is in development stage, with a large computerisation programme under way. Implementation will take place much closer to the election. It is far too early to forecast how radical and successful this might be. The same is true of pension reform.

                The government will in practice be judged by how long and strong its economic recovery is. Radical and successful reform of one or two public services would be a bonus. It appears the government is moving from radical to cautious in several important areas.

                Meanwhile the unelected Archbishop of Canterbury says no-one voted for the Coalition’s radical reforms of health, education and welfare. I suggest he reads the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos, which contained reforming proposals in each of these areas.


  1. Boudicca
    June 9, 2011

    I shall remember it as yet another Government which put the interests of the EU above those of of its own people, with a PM who blatently said the people would not be allowed a vote on the matter because their opinion is not needed, not wanted and anyway, is to be ignored.

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      Indeed a “Cast Iron” and Liberal “Democrat?” guarantee that the public will only be consulted where they can be trusted to give the answer required by the government. Proof that whatever a politician says when seeking votes it is not really worth the hot air it is carried on.

      1. lifelogic
        June 9, 2011

        It will be remembers for a huge wasted opportunity. A polished leader with excellent PR and presentational skills but totally lacking a compass, principal, or a vision.

    2. Paul H
      June 9, 2011


    3. BobE
      June 9, 2011


    4. Tim
      June 9, 2011

      Spot on Boudicca. The problem for Mr Cameron is that people will remember this and the fact we are not allowed an In/Out vote on this corrupt and nationally despised EU organisation. £46 billion trade deficit last year, £262 Billion net deficit over 10 years, an entire 400000 fishing industry lost. £14 billion net costs and rising with a £9 billion adminstration cost to implement its “directives”. No reform of the CAP………there is nothing in it for the UK!!
      As for the coalition they have delivered nothing. Immigration up with free services to all and sundry, no reform of the Human Rights Act, total stupidity of the £11.5 billion foreign aid budget, no reforms of the NHS. Mean while Rome burns, Cameron is in office but not in power.

  2. Mike Stallard
    June 9, 2011

    I can only comment on their education legacy so far.
    Sweden introduced a voucher system and anyone was allowed to set up a free school which ran independently. The parents sent their children to these schools as they saw fit and if the school didn’t seem right, then they abandoned it. In other words, everyone had the right to choose their children’s schools. There was, at the time, some debate about how well this worked. American Charter Schools, of course, were based on religious views and so they were slightly different. There seemed to be a rather larger failure rate.
    Anyway, that is all ancient history now.
    The children are still to be chosen by the County in exactly the same way as before. At the top of the list come Statemented Children, then come Children in Children’s Homes, then come Siblings, then come those who the County feels would benefit from the chosen school, after that come people within the Catchment Area….. We are miles from the Swedish system.
    Under the new Proposal Scheme for 2012, there is to be a lot more control from the Department for Education (DfE). What is taught, who can be kicked out, how many teachers there are going to be, what is to be done about the many Statemented Children etc etc. It runs for pages.
    If you do not comply, you do not open.
    This is, of course, not what was promised. Is it.

    Nevertheless, thank you for a brilliantly clear summary of the government’s achievements so far.

  3. Javelin
    June 9, 2011

    I think it will be remembered as a coalition who saved the country from New Labours economic suicide. New Labour have sent out the message to the working class that once the Conservatives build they will destroy and hand the wealth out to people who vote for them. I applaud the LibDems for showing responsibility and forming a coalition. Having said that I think New Labours toxic political policies will take a generation to remove because they not only screwed our productivity but also our responsibility with their political correctness.

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      I agree Labour did all that. But Cameron is almost as bad and on virtually the same path of economic and electoral suicide.

      1. lifelogic
        June 9, 2011

        As illustrations of the vision problem.

        Tim Yeo this morning “Renewable energy is likely to cost more”
        (Perhaps 99.9999 % likely to cost at least double I assume he really means). Is he, as the Chairman of Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, in possession of the real figures I wonder?

        Cameron yesterday said something like – he will do things that are right not just do things for good newspaper headlines in the morning – so is he changing his lifetime strategy completely?

        Also in his NHS speech he promised (not sure if this was a cast iron promise or not):
        “That whenever you’re ill, however rich you are, you can walk into a hospital or surgery and get treated for free. No questions asked. No cash asked.
        I will never put that at risk.”
        So the NHS is rather unlikely to improve much then and patients/customers are unlikely to have much real influence in anything.

        It will doubtless thus continue, as now, to be run hugely inefficiently and mainly for the benefit of staff, politicians and administrators in a manner that no double Shirley Williams and other socialists would approve of. After all superficial fairness, not real results, is what matters to them most.

        1. norman
          June 10, 2011

          The ‘No questions’ stuff is true – I could tell you (and I’m sure thousands of others also could) of people with no right to receive health treatment in this country ‘walking into an hospita l or surgery and being treated for free, no questions asked, no cash asked’.

          One illegal immigrant I know went the full term of her pregnancy (and subsequent birth) with ‘no questions asked’!

          You couldn’t make this stuff up.

        2. Tim
          June 10, 2011

          Why doesn’t he change the name to the “Open all hours”, International Health Service, free for all! No contributions required.

    2. A.Sedgwick
      June 9, 2011

      I think the Libdems did the country, our skewed form of democracy and their voters a massive disservice by agreeing to a coalition. Individually they were greedy for power and the AV referendum and the Conservatives have a leader sufficiently wet enough to buy them in. A Conservative minority government for say 18 months would have been vastly more honest politics and if they wanted to bring down the Government so be it. The fact is the Libdems were to the left of Nulabour and the Labour Party is their natural partner.

  4. lifelogic
    June 9, 2011

    You say correctly “The government will, in practice, be judged by how long and strong its economic recovery is.” Recovery will be very weak indeed as we are seeing with the current anti reform, anti private sector, big state, big tax, central planning strategy.

    They should want to be remembered for sorting out the huge Blair/Brown mess getting good growth and employments, sorting out the dangerous and inefficient NHS, poor school welfare, restoration of democracy from the EU and winning the next election as a result.

    You also say: “Meanwhile the unelected Archbishop of Canterbury says no-one voted for the Coalition’s radical reforms of health, education and welfare.”
    If he is against the reforms they surely must be right he has proved a good litmus test for what is wrong so many times before. Was he informed by God, & from his good big old books his “gut feelings” or did he actually just think about what systems and structures would work, in practice, to give the best outlook for patients?

    Indeed it is wrong (and immoral) not to reform it far further than was proposed. So that it actually works. Free at the point of use will always make it dis-functional. It is run very badly as indeed most of the state is, mainly for the benefit of staff, bureaucrats and politicians.

    Often their main aim is to deter patients from attending or delay treatment to save them money and effort particularly with the elderly or busy.

    The Conservative were unable to win against sitting duck Brown (with their lack of vision and wet all things to all men strategy) and they are unlikely to win again for some time with this appalling big state direction they are taking and time is so short with one year wasted already.

    One might as well cull them now.

  5. alan jutson
    June 9, 2011

    Not much movement on the bonfire of Regulations yet.

    Reported in the Telegraph yesterday, that the money laundering regulation is to be relaxed for smaller companies.

    After probably many meetings, much discussion, a degree of soul searching, and I guess some argument, the decision to modify the current regulation to now exclude all businesses from the present money laundering regulations :

    wait for it …………..

    a turnover of………

    wait for it……..

    under £13,000

    John if true, you simply could not make this up.

    Again if true, this really does show how out of touch Ministers are with regard to business. Who in the hell runs any form of full time business with a total turnover of less than £13,000.

    Taxpayer paid people have spent time on this, what planet are they on, what a joke.

    Please tell me this proposal is not true, and the Telegraph have got this wrong.

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      Clearly it is an absurd limit but you might be surprised how many part time (self employed tutors, book keepers, hair dressers and the like) turn over less than £13,000. And they still pay tax to fund the fat cats and their pension in the state sector.

      1. alan jutson
        June 9, 2011


        Agreed for partime self employed wokers.

        But the present money Laundering Regulations (from memory) say only CASH paid in amounts of £10,000 or more, will need to have the customers personal identity and source checked out by the person who is nominated by the company accepting the money.

        Not many hairdressers charge more than £10,000 a pop, and do not then earn more than £13,000 all year.

        At Present Money Laundering Regulations do not come into force for cash payments under £10,000.

        1. Robert
          June 10, 2011

          Wrong or so I have been told – whenever I have given a small sum of money in teh form of investments to my 18 year son ( not often and not large – no more than £500) I have had to have my identity certified despite the fact I am FSA registered. Bureaucracy gone mad !

          1. alan jutson
            June 10, 2011


            Last time I read the details of the money laundering requirements (a few years ago) for my Company for which I was responsible, the limit was up to £10,000 in cash, against any one single transaction, multiple payments of £9,999 for the same contract would certainly not allowed under the regulations.

            To the best of my knowledge (and of course I could be mistaken) nothing has changed until these new proposals were put forward.

            I guess the financial services sector is operating under different rules and different criteria through the mltitude of FSA requirements

      2. Bazman
        June 9, 2011

        Don’t forget the fatcats in the private sector too. Bleeding the taxpayer in various industries. The taxpayer is often their only customer making them state funded. Bankers being at the top of the pile.

    2. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      June 9, 2011

      “Who in the hell runs any form of full time business with a total turnover of less than £13,000.”

      A tribe of Congo river delta Pygmies in Africa. Their annual turnover is under £13,000.

  6. waramess
    June 9, 2011

    Unfortunately it would seem most of the Coalition initiatives were initiatives thought out by the previous government. What were the Conservatives doing during their twelve years in the wilderness other than staring at their proverbials?

    Many of the initiatives were badly thought through and whilst the idea of NHS reforms look superficially as though some thought has been devoted to them I certainly would not wish these powers to be handed to my GP however close s(he) might be to the patient.

    These are the people who sit on their bottoms during office hours and earn vast sums from treating minor ailments. As someone pointed out recently it would be a bit like Tesco handing responsibility for the business to the store managers.

    This is a left wing administration and that is why they are so comfortable with apeing the Labour policies and that, I would suggest, is what history will see them as.

    There will be no strong recovery because there are no policies for growth, but a continuing appetite for spending will result in increased indebtedness at the end off their term.

    You yourself say “that they will reduce the deficit more over the life of the Parliament” and “We should expect steady but not dramatic progress in cutting the rate of increase in public borrowing”. How ridiculous both these comments repeated in isolation seem. The government are not even expected to cut spending just to cut the rate at which their spending continues to be in excess of their income and so cut the extent by which they have to increase borrowing by the end of their term in office. My bank manager would have a good larf.

    The only reason for the right wing to remain in the Conservative Party is because it provides the financial support for them to secure their re-election. Otherwise they are by their own choice trapped in a party of Europhile left wingers who, far from being in transitory control have been at the controls for the better part of the last half century.

    Ted Heath was pretty obsessed with his legacy and fate delivered him his just deserts. I suspect that this government will likewise follow and I’m afraid the right wing of the party will itself not find much praise in the annals of history

  7. oldtimer
    June 9, 2011

    How are they getting on? It is too soon to tell but overall it is not promising.

    On schools a promising start has been made which may deliver the reform that is sought and needed. On welfare, health and public service the jury remains out. On the economic front the government found itself in a hole and keeps on digging. So far it has failed to put in place some obvious ladders out of the hole. These include removing taxes which inhibit enterprise (such as the 50% rate, tax on N Sea energy production, removing the many complexities in the tax code). They also include the very heavy (and unnecessary) costs to consumers and businesses alike of implementing the Climate Change Act via the Carbon Plan. Increasing the aid budget is not justified; it should be subject to the same cuts as other departmental budgets.

    We have yet to see a convincing plan for providing efficient energy into the future. All we have been offered so far are expensive, uncompetitive, unreliable schemes that only promise to deliver power cuts. Defence remains a mess, compounded by the government`s apparent eagerness to involve itself new foreign military ventures. The government is also rapidly acquiring a reputation for making U-turns. This suggests an uncertain hand at the wheel about the direction of travel. This does not inspire confidence in its systems for thinking through and implementing its policies. In the business world, the chief executive would soon be facing the sack.

    1. Mike Stallard
      June 9, 2011

      “On schools a promising start has been made which may deliver the reform that is sought and needed.”
      Scroll up.

  8. lojolondon
    June 9, 2011

    All we want is a government that represents us, the voters of the UK. We do not want the EU, we do not want foreign aid and (too many) immigrants and we do not want human rights laws or political correctness. We want our taxes reduced and our money to be well spent. In short we want a conservative government, not the Left-wing apologist coalition that we have now.

    1. eddyh
      June 10, 2011

      We want a government which represents the voters of ENGLAND! That doesn’t allow Scots universities to charge fees to English students whilst their own people and EU students get away free. That doesn’t subsidise the Scottish people, via the Barnet formula, from English taxpayers.

  9. Robert K
    June 9, 2011

    Odd how the popular perception is that 1) the government is cutting spending and 2) that spending cuts are damaging for economic recovery. See just one example from the FT today (this is written by the FT’s journalist, who is not quoting anyone directly): “Britain’s government is under criticism from opponents for pressing ahead with deep spending cuts despite signs that the country’s economy is emerging from recession at a slower pace than previously forecast.”
    Aside from the fallacy that spending cuts are underdway, as so clearly articulated by JR, how can we re-calibrate the language so that the phrase “public spending cuts” becomes “private sector stimulus”?

  10. Caterpillar
    June 9, 2011

    For what will the Coalition government be remembered?

    In July 2011 Ken Clarke returned to the backbenches and recalling those short lived heady days of 1997 reinstigated the Clarke-Redwood pact. In so doing the backs of the economically and socially liberal Coalition were protected from sniper fire and the momentum allowed to restore. In response to this action the PM moved David Davis back into frontbench politics, whilst David Laws joined Liam Fox to audit the MoD numbers.

    With new found confidence the future PM, George Osborne wrote a stronger letter to the Governor of the BoE, and the Business Secretary called for tax cuts.

    Seeing the refound confidence the Labour Party realised it needed to change Millibands and the opposition’s new found strength deepened the country’s confidence.


    Or it might not be remembered at all

  11. Richard
    June 9, 2011

    I think the Coalition will end up being remembered for being rather dull and not doing anything radical.
    We see the watering down of reforms in health and education and long delays in the implementation of welfare reform.
    Added to that is a feeling that the “cuts” will end up being far less than stated and tax revenues and growth will be less than expected.
    Being in power is fine, and I suppose its better than suffering another Labour Government, but what is the point if all you want to do is micro-management and not make radical improving changes?

  12. Scottspeig
    June 9, 2011

    Now John, I would have thought you would not have fallen for the spin that the Archbishop is unelected, for it is not true.

    He is elected by his peers and is therefore elected (still wrong though)

    I will see this government in three ways –

    1. individualistic – MPs such as yourself, Bill Cash, Peter Bone and Douglas Carswell have grown in my standing.
    David Cameron and his ilk are no conservatives and need to be replaced.
    Some labour mps are actually good for the country (eg Tom Harris)

    2. coalitions – They are terrible, mess around with manifestos and then blame the others when its expedient to do so. I prefer minority governments then a swift election.

    3. Overall – The Conservative party seems to have failed – when they talk of cuts etc, I expect them to deliver and for spending to decrease. They cannot organise the BoE to control inflation. Taxes have increased when they should have decreased and I am at a loss to how to solve the quagmire that is UK politics – no quick solution that is certain.

    4. PR spin still exists. I’d hoped that would change once Labour was removed but it seems not to have been the case. Your leader is truly “heir to Blair”

    1. Scottspeig
      June 9, 2011

      damn it – forgot to alter the three to four!

      1. Paul H
        June 9, 2011

        Scottspeig for the MPC!

      2. Caterpillar
        June 9, 2011

        Put it down to inflation.

  13. Robert
    June 9, 2011

    The deficit is important for obvious reasons, but it is not as important as the total level of outstanding debt that we as a country owe. I do recognise that the deficit being reduced is stage 1 but what really upsets me and yes even scares me is the size of our total debt and that seems a dim distant dream! I don’t underestimate the leverage of economic growth but with our tax, and regulations we will produce the necessary revenues to reduce the deficit meaningfully and certainly not make any serious indentation into our debt mountain. We need to illustrate the latter in terms that the average man on the street can grasp.

  14. Robert
    June 9, 2011

    I am not sur ethey wil be remembered for much as everything has been done with little resolve and I am not sure with the vigour that will in th elong term get us out of the mess we ar ein. Time will tell, but the portents are not good. With regard to the central assumption of economic and fiscal stability they have not fronted up. The deficit is important for obvious reasons, but it is not as important as the total level of outstanding debt that we as a country owe. I do recognise that the deficit being reduced is stage 1, but what really upsets me and yes even scares me is the size of our total debt and any chance of reducing that seems a dim distant dream! I don’t underestimate the leverage of economic growth in tax revenue generating terms but with our current tax, and regulations we will not produce the necessary revenues to reduce the deficit meaningfully and certainly not make any serious indentation into our debt mountain. We need to shatter the public’s illusion and illustrate the latter in terms that the average man on the street can grasp.

  15. ian wragg
    June 9, 2011

    This government will be remembered as a complete failure
    1. Failure to cut the deficit
    2. Failure to cut immigration
    3. Failure to do anything about Brussels
    3 Failure to reign in “umanrites” issues
    4. Failure to lock up criminals
    etc etc etc
    This is a Lib Dem government with a LibDumb Prime Minister

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      Failure to promote growth.
      Failure to cut regulation especially employment.
      Failure to get the banks to lend.
      Failure to provide a sensible energy policy.
      Failure to cut the state sector down to size.
      Failure to lower taxes and thus increase revenues.
      Failure to get out of pointless wars and avoid new ones
      Failure to keep EU promises
      Failure to sort education or the NHS
      Failure to provide an uplifting vision for the country at all just one slightly less depressing than Labour but with Labour to come soon.

  16. electro-kevin
    June 9, 2011

    Welfare and benefits reform awaiting a large computerisation programme.

    Haven’t we had similar in the NHS and education ?

    We all know that ‘awaiting a large computerisation programme’ is a euphamism for “we don’t know what to do so we’re going to kick it into the long grass – rather like the old Soviet 5 year plans.

    Grammar schools: Which Cnservatives are disappointed ? Clearly not enough of them by the sound of it.

    O/T I saw around 200 cars and fifty vans being transported by rail the other day. (counter point to a few photos of railway carriages being carried by road.)

    And while on the subject of railways: Baggage netting and seatbelts sound a good idea but for them to be effective we also need plenty more seating capacity so that there are no passengers standing.

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      Seat belts on train are more trouble than they are worth as they rarely crash and when they do they tend not to stop that quickly as they are rather big. Better spent on avoiding crashes with electronics bridges etc and putting bolts in the rails properly.

    2. Mike Stallard
      June 9, 2011

      “Grammar schools: Which Cnservatives are disappointed ? Clearly not enough of them by the sound of it.”
      No they are going in the opposite direction. The children who are failing in the system get to the front of the queue. It is impossible to expel them if they are naughty. By and large teachers are still unsupported and, yes, are threatened and insulted (from the TES). Meanwhile the schools are huge factories working to examination targets, with many, many of the failing abysmally.
      Just look at your local comprehensive and tell me this: what does it look like? Ours all look just like factories.

  17. Bernard Otway
    June 9, 2011

    Will no one rid US of this turbulent ridiculous priest,my great grandfather held his post more than 50 years ago,I know he is spinning in his grave,I can feel him doing it.
    As for big government,the question I have is ? are the entire ruling class capable of any thoughts at all,it is plainly obvious that central direction of anything is not possible and clearly does not work,did not a Korean 747 get shot down in the time of the CCCP because
    the powers that be in the east of that country were scared to wake up Brezhnev who was 8
    hours ahead of them and asleep,thank god they did not have their fingers on the Nuclear
    triggers,or we all would be living in a post nuclear age now.Come to think of it maybe things would not be so bad as clearly local would be the form of administration everywhere
    and Individualism would rule,I for one would NOT use my expertise unless it was correctly valued.

  18. grahams
    June 9, 2011

    I fear that the Coalition will be remembered for presiding over the revival of inflation, stagnation in the economy and the continued decline of England, if not the rest of the country.

    1. lifelogic
      June 9, 2011

      Indeed and so pointlessly when they could have done some much had they not had Cameron and the Liberals.

  19. forthurst
    June 9, 2011

    All gloss. No real change at all. Fully signed up to the globalist agenda of stealthfull ingurgitation of this country by the EU. Fully signed up to the globalist agenda of destroying our national identity and sense of bellonging to an identifiable race through third world immigration, highly repressive and undemocratic thought crime laws. Selecting candidates for parliament on no other criteria than belonging to a group with special rights and protections under the law. Fully signed up to the globalist agenda of attacking Moslem countries on any available pretext (Libya, next Syria) whilst turing a blind eye to the most egregious behaviour emanating from close proximity. Incidentally, Sarkosy is strongly suspected in some quarters of being both a CIA and Mossad (friend? ed), so what might some suspect of Cameron?
    Is there any real difference from Labour? Bearing in mind they would have reined in spending slightly for reasons of self-preservation, the answer is none at all. Each government promises to ‘cure’ education and the NHS whilst ensuring that liberal doses of legislative poison incorporated by Whitehall renders such cures ineffective.

    1. forthurst
      June 9, 2011

      …and of course, Cameron is fully signed up to the Green assault on the West (owning the means of production in the East is much cheaper) designed and underwritten by globalists and sold via the globalists’ mouthpiece, the BBC. Cameron, the globalists and the BBC are in full agreement on everything. So is Cameron a Conservative? No.

  20. Chris
    June 9, 2011

    This government will be remembered for being as corrupt as the last one – trust in politicians and integrity in government are fundamental to this democracy, and these have been finally blown away by the Attorney General’s decision to deny an inquest into the death of David Kelly. It shows that it is now apparently acceptable in the UK for due legal process to be (used?ed) in the interests of political matters. To me it is an utter disgrace, and it illustrates a contempt for the intelligence of the electorate, and an arrogance that comes with power. From today onwards the Conservative party will no longer have my support.

  21. Mike Fowle
    June 9, 2011

    This strikes me as a pretty fair analysis. Obviously you have trenchant – and valid – criticisms of the economic policy and approach to the EU, but other reforms are brave and necessary and it would be a pity if the coalition back away from them. At PMQs yesterday, David Cameron had some good advice for Ed Miliband, there are better ways of spending his time than reading the newspapers. The same applies to the Government, of course. Mr Cameron strikes me as a decent man wrestling with very difficult problems, which, pace the Press, are not simple or obvious to solve. As for Archbishop Williams, I seem to recall in Yes Minister, Jim Hacker ruminating how politicians wanted to be bishops and bishops to be politicians.

  22. stred
    June 9, 2011

    I quite like the Arch of Cant as he seems a genuinely good man and looks a bit like God was supposed to, when I was at school. We should not be surprised if he starts spouting his Guardian column from under another hat when he has a chance. Most of the pulpit boys and girls seem to be in the job as failed politicians or social workers who enjoy a captive audience every Sunday. The recent morning sermon on R4 started with prayers for the deserving poor then we has to pray for– Local Authorities.

    I was thinking of praying that a big lump of anti-matter might zap into the town hall but turned the programme off before my Sunday was ruined. A friend has sent me details of a FOI answer from Brighton council about the cost of a consultation exercise over alterations to a park which few people consulted ever use. They spent over 3 average Council tax bills on it and only recieved 70 comments. The answer is copyright, however and my friend has been told he can only use it for himself and we cannot post the reply here. It is a shame as it is quite a good laugh.

    I am now having to re employ another engineer on my little extension, which is now delayed by 6 months by LA requirements, in order to prove what is obvoius and cannot continue until some under qualified fonctionaire ticks his box.

    Our area in Brighton recently saw off another attempt by the Conservative lead Council to introduce parking management to our streets, at great expense and inconvenience. Even Green councillors joined the fight when they realised the extent of the opposition. Now they are busy starting licencing all small shared houses in the central area. This will be enormously expensive and not imrove student behaviour at all. This will be not be paid for by taxpayers- so all is fine. Instead landlords will pay and pass costs on to tenants or withdraw from the market.

    I am convinced that it would be possible to sack half the people working for Local Authorities and improve life for the average citizen. Of course though, the redundancy costs would be enormous and the only people sacked would be the ones providing the services we actually want.

    The Coalition will be remembered for doing very little that Labour would not have had to do anyway following the departure of the Presbyterian big spender.

    Let us pray, no- let us emigrate.

    1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      June 9, 2011

      Emigrate where ?

      1. Scottspeig
        June 10, 2011

        New Zealand – although it’ll only be another 50 years before they are in the same situation – The Castaway Island is for sale – a reasonable £2m. Then you could live on your own island. I wonder if you could then seek independence?!?

      2. lifelogic
        June 10, 2011

        Switzerland, British Virgin Islands, Monaco, Ireland (you can be taxed as non domicile), nearly all tax havens, even France, Holland and Italy if you structure it well, Australia and New Zealand, Honk Kong, India, an endless choice – go for it why should you bother paying off the state debts built up by Brown and the useless state sector providing nothing much of value in return.

  23. Neil Craig
    June 9, 2011

    The problem is that all this reforming, even of the health service, is minor compared to getting the economy moving, which was, after all, why the Tories (nearly) gotvoted in. How much could the best possible health reform cut costs – probably not by 1% of GNP. But an increase in even 1% of GNP extra annually would increase national wealth by £70 billion annually and the Exchequer’s take by about £28 billion.

    By the end of a 5 year Parliament China and India’s GNPs will be 161% of what they are now and we could do the same if the politicians would allow it.

  24. Duyfken
    June 9, 2011

    I wonder what the individual Tory constituency associations think of the Coalition and of the performance of their respective MPs. Surely the Conservative grass-roots did not expect to be taken on the path on which Cameron has led, but why are they not complaining vociferously to their chosen representatives and urging a return to Tory principles?

  25. BobE
    June 9, 2011

    At the next election I predict that the Lib Dems will virtually vanish. Their core vote of the young no longer belive them, because they told lies before the previous election. So were will the young vote go?. If to labour then they will win. I doubt it going to Cons. The result will be a labour win or a “labour + another” coalition.
    Labour does need to get a better looking leader though.
    Maybe Mr Balls?

    1. lifelogic
      June 10, 2011

      If they could not win against sitting duck Brown what chance have they got next time? Especially as they have just, non working, labour light policies anyway.

  26. Mike Stallard
    June 9, 2011

    What we need more than any other reform is in the Civil Service and LAs. This could be done by an examination system like it once used to be. Also by cutting the numbers quite radically, it might again be an honour to be in them.
    But then all those public servants would be on the rock’n’roll with their “partners” seething as their meal ticket was removed.
    Guess how they, in their millions, would vote?

  27. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    June 9, 2011

    Where does it state in the Manifesto about starting a new War in the Middle East ?

    Is this action hoped to contribute towards reducing terrorism and reducing the deficit?

  28. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    June 9, 2011

    This Government will be remembered for continuing the old failed policies of the last Government.

    At present they cannot be blamed for handing over £200 billion pounds and selling off half the Country’s Gold at rock bottom prices. But it appears that David Cameron wants to follow in Tony Blairs foot steps by starting an unwinnable War based on false premise, then apply for Tony’s old Job at J P Morgan.

    Hopefully I’m wrong.

    This War is not entirely their fault as many senior Labour Politicians also voted for it.

    Who exactly is our “Government” ? The IMF, The UN, The United States, J P Morgan or the European Parliament?

    Are Politicians basically good people who are as frustrated at the ‘way things are’, just like the rest of us? The Vote for “humanitarian intervention” is not a good argument to prove this.

  29. Jon Burgess
    June 9, 2011

    The coalition will be remembered as the long awaited and too long delayed death rattle of the Tory party. Do you honestly think the Tories stand a hope in hell of ever achieving a majority again after this shower? Erm.. maybe only if Dave can get his boundary changes through in time.

    Please please please do the decent thing and leave this left wing rabble. They have changed their spots with the promise of eternal power – one left wing party follows another ad infinitum; the names on the Ministers doors interchangeable.

    Here’s what I’d like to remember you for:
    Resigning your seat over a matter of conservative principle (shouldn’t be too hard)
    and joining UKIP or founding your own truly right wing conservative movement.
    Being re-elected with a thumpingly huge majority.
    Other dissaffected true conservatives following your lead and doing the same creating an unstoppable momentum which sweeps those soppy damp liberals hardened marxists and career flip floppers out of office and off to Brussels where they belong.
    Giving the people their country back by leaving the EU the next day.

    Fancy giving it a go? Or will your continued Euroscepticism within a pro EU party get you what you want?

    P.S I notice someone else commented on your reference to grammar schools. Since when was it Tory policy to support grammar schools? They gave this up long ago or didn’t you notice? Now UKIP on the other hand….

  30. wab
    June 9, 2011

    The government will be remembered for basically being Blair Mark II, so yet more spin over substance.

    (1) The worst failure is on energy. This government, like the last one, has done nothing to improve security or supply and seems perfectly happy that more and more people are ending up in energy poverty. And the lights could well go out.

    (2) There is also a complete failure to address housing supply. All this government has done is put up more hurdles to development, all in the alleged name of localism and environmentalism, but in truth because the Tories (and Lib Dems, who are basically just One Nation Tories) represent the interest of the propertied classes (with the exception of HS2, where they have put the politicians’ perpetual interests in a vanity “grand projet” above the interests of the propertied classes).

    (3) On transport the government will be remembered for throwing money at a vanity train project, and pretty much completely ignoring the road system. The Lib Dems in particular hate drivers, except for the Lib Dem ones in the Highlands, and the Tories have done basically nothing to improve the road system.

    (4) As many people predicted, in a feeble attempt to cut the deficit, the government (both central and local) cut out much of the meat and left most of the fat.

    (5) On education the government will be remembered either for sinking universities and/or forcing the survivors all to go private. David Willetts bizarrely wrote a book declaiming the selfishness of the Baby Boomers, and then looked in the mirror and proceeded to prove this in a big way. In school education, the government will be remembered for promoting the interests of the few (cf. Toby Young and other rich middle class parents) over the interests of the many, doing nothing to improve the general educational level of the country.

    Tories always like to claim that government is no good. Tories always then seem to go out of their way to prove this when they are in power. This government is no exception.

  31. Kenneth
    June 9, 2011

    Regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury, if he feels that the coalition health proposals have no mandate then whose health proposals should we adopt? The Labour Party’s? Cuba’s? Perhaps The New Statesmen’s?

  32. Bernard Otway
    June 10, 2011

    To Conrad Jones Cheam
    Emigrate to Australia/NZ/Canada,as I did in 1969 from Wrayfield Road,North Cheam to Brisbane,or even South Africa where I am returning to soon[Despite Crime].In the 3 years since my return
    here to Banstead, I have advised at least 1500 young families to go to Aus/NZ/Can,most either have or are taking my advice,some have even sent me via email pictures of the 3 or 4 bed
    Detatched houses they now own paid for by the proceeds of the sale of their 3 bed terraced homes here.Our son has purchased a house for us to live in in the countryside between Johannesburg and Durban 3 beds detatched 150 sq metres with 3000 sq metres of land,at a cost of R175000,R to £ exchange rate R10.8 therefore £16,203 for a DETATCHED

    1. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
      June 12, 2011

      Thank you Bernard.

      I must admit that I have considered a move to Canada. House Prices was one of the reasons.

      My reasoning was that it would be better to live a long way away debt free, than live locally, slaving away for some faceless Banker paying for an overpriced low quality home.

      After a number of visits to Canada I finally realised that I like England and I like Cheam. Although I like Ewell more.

      So – for now; I’m going to stick it out and hope that Politicians finally see the absurdity of allowing Banks to create our money supply and the even more hysterical policy of bailing out Banks despite their huge advantage over other privately run businesses in the UK.

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    June 10, 2011

    Drastically reducing the country’s red ink, I trust. That’s probably enough on its own.

  34. Andrew Johnson
    June 10, 2011

    I’d like to think that the Coalition will be remembered for finally convincing a good percentage of the electorate that there is no difference in policy or practice between Conservative/ Liberal Democrat or New Labour.

  35. sm
    June 10, 2011

    Wasting opportunity to reconnect politics by the people for the people (of the UK).

    A coalition could be easily have been sustained even over contentious issues if they were resolved for the immediate future by some direct democracy or referism.

    1) The EU in/out.
    2) Supporting the Euro via direct and bilateral bailouts.
    3) UK bill of rights to ensure primacy of English Law as directly willed by the UK parliament not indirect nod through from Brussels.
    4) How to deal with our too big to fail banks and reconcile public support of and towards the banking system?
    5) Constitutional imbalances re an English Parliament.
    6) Overseas aid to rich countries.
    7) Student Fees.

    I guess representing the people faithfully is proving more difficult despite i bet very accurate polling knowledge ( oh the cost of referenda).

    Iceland’s government seem to be doing well despite economic hardship by following its local electorates wishes, despite being prone to wobble due to external pressure.

  36. Steve Whitfield
    June 13, 2011

    The coalition will be remembered for the lost opportunities to repair the damage inflicted upon this country by Labour. On how tough talk on immigration, welfare and deficit reduction was never matched by actions.
    Of course the die was cast when a desperate and confused Conservative Party was seduced by a slick ‘showman’ called David Cameron…so dazzled were they that they failed to notice he was a guilt ridden liberal who has no time for anyone who is truly conservative in nature.

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