Things look promising. I’ve studied the coalition document and have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of Liberal Democrat policies that are in there. There has been a good attempt to capture areas of common ground – which is presumably why the negotiations took so long.
David Cameron has surprised us all. He could easily have refused to talk to anyone, bulldozed ahead with a minority government, and waited for a favourable moment to call another election. Instead he has shown great flexibility and compromise and putting national interests ahead of his party to secure a government for the country, and deserves praise for doing so.
This is so unlike the Conservative party that we have known all these years. Can you imagine Margaret Thatcher allowing Liberal Democrats in her cabinet? Norman Tebbit’s anger means we must be right.
Some grumbles: in the document there is reference to education funding, but not specifically tuition fees. There is no mention of whether the all-party talks on elderly care funding will be resumed. And the referendum remains on alternative vote rather than a PR system. But we’re getting there.
Five Cabinet ministers and 20 ministers in all is a good achievement and more than expected, although I am not sure what Nick Clegg would be doing. I am pleased that Vince Cable has a good job as, at the age of 67, I had feared his talents would be lost to the nation. Instead he must now be a contender for Chancellor of the Exchequer in two or three years once George is moved sideways.
So now we wait for the Queen’s speech and the budget. No more can people pompously say ‘Lib Dems can promise what they like because they will never be in a position to govern.’ It will be strange to defend the government after opposing it for 25 years but we must deliver – we must ensure that good liberal democrat policies are put in place and that the coalition government is a success.