With the Cabinet now having had it's first meeting and the Coalition Agreement being published, I suppose I can finally make a decision on exactly how positive I can be about this new Liberal-Conservative Government (as our new Prime Minister Cameron likes to call it!).
Well... on the Cabinet positions? I'm not exactly thrilled but then again the majority of the Cabinet positions were going to be Tories anyway and I was never going to be happy about that. Heard this morning that Philippa Stroud might be working as special advisor to Iain Duncan Smith. Quelle surprise. However this is the "new politics" now (neue Politik, surely?) and the past of the Ministers shall thus be put to one side and I plan to judge them on their future actions. Forgiveness is the key, let's move on and keep a close eye on them all.
On the agreement? I'm actually EXTREMELY positive about the agreement. Sure there's some issues I don't agree with (keeping the marriage tax rebate for example) but mostly it seems to be all good ( although confusion and distortion seem to be clouding the issue of the 55% vote required for dissolution). Yes, I accept that electoral reform is just not there. A referendum on AV is next to useless. But two things keep me positive on that front:
1) the issue is now "out there". What was previously one of our "wonky policies" that everyone smiled and winked about whenever it was mentioned is now in the public eye and getting debated. That is healthy, good and the work of people such as the Electoral Reform Society and Unlock Democracy shall now be easier.
2) the issue of reforming the House of Lords is mentioned and turning it into a full elected House. And the election will be by PR. That is a huge leap forward. If people can see the benefits of PR there, then we surely shall start to see movement towards it at a House of Commons level (plus AV will get people used to numbering candidates.. another step forward perhaps?)
The agreement isn't our manifesto. And that's to be expected. I'd rather it was but that's not going to happen. What I am glad to see is Lib Dem policies helping mitigate Tory ones. Sure there will be a cap on immigration but there will be an agreement that children aren't held in detention centres. This is a step forward.
Section 10 on civil liberties sold me on the coalition of change. If everything on it comes to pass all of this, and what is to come, will have been worth it. Rolling back the big brother state and restoring our freedoms is deeply important to me personally.
Plus the joint Cameron/Clegg press conference yesterday really sealed the deal for me. I really think they mean it!!
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist