There was no point blogging over the last few days as either nothing or everything was happening. Now the dust is beginning to settle, things are becoming slightly clearer. A very neat deal has been done between the Lib Dems and the Tories. Several clever trade offs have been made: Osborne as Chancellor but Cable in the Treasury, Hague stays as Foreign Sec but Clegg gets to carve out his own role as Deputy PM which will probably grow out of his promise of a “new politics”, and I expect David Laws will bump a fairly senior Tory off the front bench before the day is out. My fantasy cabinet hasn’t quite come to fruition (as it obviously could not), but if I had been being more realistic about the number of cabinet seats the LDs would get, I wasn’t far off. No actually I got all of them wrong. Iain Dale was far more accurate, but then he would be.
If you feel as though the cabinet still looks fairly Tory, bear in mind that the LDs have got a referendum on the alternative vote, fixed term parliaments and House of Lords reform. These are, or will be, major constitutional shifts.
It is easy to get carried away with all the excitement (isn’t it?) and indeed yesterday evening on Downing St was a fairly exciting place to be. But as that wise old sage Peter Hennessy remarked on Radio 4 this morning, “History has dealt Cameron one of the toughest inheritances in peace time that an incoming Prime Minister has ever had”, and he is, of course, not wrong. Pundits and politicians are, I suspect, divided between those who think this in-tray should be tackled by a single party because coalitions are inherently unstable, and those who feel this coalition is inherently stable and therefore the best way to tackle the biggest problems; problems far greater in size than any one party is able to swallow. I’m in the latter for the moment. Of course the minute anything goes wrong I will switch immediately and delete my happy tweets from last night.
My only real concern is that all this “new politics” lark – less partisanship, working together, more mature, grown-up government - will mean they actually start to behave themselves at PMQs and it might be rather dull, as in every other country. But if that’s what it takes to empty that in-tray then I suppose it’s worth it. I’ll just watch the re-runs on YouTube…