People on this site love to knock the Coalition. As host I don’t censor your criticisms or even censure you for doing so.
In the interests of democratic debate and fair presentation, I thought today I would ask if any of you did like some of the things the Coalition has done. Someone the other day said they did like the ending of the M4 Bus lane, and the abolition of Home Information packs, though they would have liked the Energy reports to have gone as well. I agree that I thought those two items were good.
I might add that I have liked the ending of long detention without trial or charge, the increase in Income Tax personal allowances (any income tax cut is a good thing), the cap on Housing benefit claims, the stated intention to get the deficit down, the one million new jobs which the private sector has generated so far and the veto on the new financial Treaty to stop the UK being dragged into it. Abolishing the South East England Development Agency was also a good moment. Some of you are doubtless benefitting from the more generous state pension payments.
On Monday the Times published a list of 50 areas where they expected disagreement between Lib Dems and Conservatives in the Coalition. They asserted that many Conservative Ministers have come to the conclusion I advanced at the outset, that a minority Conservative government would be easier. Then people could see which things the Lib Dems blocked in Parliamentary votes.
However, the Times list did not always reflect the feelings of the respective parties and made more of the disagreements in some cases than is warranted. They argued, for example that Conservatives were against sorting out the lop sided extradition arrangements with the USA, when many of us have pressed Mrs May to do just that. They say Conservatives want to hold internet service information for police use, when many of us are worried about the impact of that on freedom. They suggest Conservatives are keen to push up rail fares – not the ones I know. They argue the Lib Dems want income tax cuts. I can assure you so do Conservatives. They see Conservatives as resisting bank reform. Many of us have been going hoarse demanding it. The picture is more complex than the Times suggests. Their list also repeated items to make it look longer.
The one major area where the difference is large and important is over the EU. Several of the items related to EU powers and policies, where there is one Eurosceptic party and one pro EU party in the coalition.