Sunday, 29 January 2012

Return of the Blog...

I'm back - I went away but now I'm back.

Ok, what's been happening? The economy has stood still, winter hasn't arrived and the race to be the Republican Presidential Candidate has had more twists and turns than a twistyturny thing.

Inspiring speech by Nick Clegg last Tuesday in contrast to David Cameron's rather sour posturing at Davos. It's good to see the argument on tax cuts focussed on reducing the tax burden for lower earners instead of concentrating on the 50p rate for the wealthy. As for the "mansion tax" proposal which has produced howls of outrage from the conservative media, the roughly 0.1% of homeowners affected enjoy a disproportionately influential and favourable slice of opinion but the 99.9% of us unaffected by the proposals will appreciate the lightneing of our collective financial burden.

As a result, Clegg's ratings which were very poor have started to turn round and this could mark a serious turning point for his fortunes and those of the Coalition. The Liberal Democrats have borne the brunt of the anti-Coalition sentiment not just from the Labour side but from anti-Coalition Conservatives. Part of this was self-inflicted (the tuition fees fiasco) but part has also come from the sense created by the anti-Coalition Tories that Clegg and the Liberal Democrats were stopping the Government from being really conservative (or even Conservative).

The likes of Simon Heffer portray Cameron as a Conservative suffocated by Liberal Democrats and some of the pro-Conservative anti-Coalition activists on politicalbetting and similar have on a number of occasions called for the Conservatives to walk away from the Coalition and call an election in the hope of getting a majority on their own.

Nick Clegg is establishing the character of the Coalition - it's not a traditional hard-headed mean-spirited Conservative Government but something new and inclusive. Clegg is moving the Government to a more centrist position - can we call it One-Nation? Up to a point, yes, but not entirely. It's NOT a Liberal Democrat Government either.

Those of us who said before the 2010 election that the "best" result would be a Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition are pleased with this - the evolution of the Coalition into something which should please that arch Liberal Conservative David Cameron has been painful and hard but it is happening. Conservatives don't like it - social democrats aren't keen but perhaps we are seeing the most liberal (both economically and socially) Government since before WW1.

It seems to be Labour who has inherited the mantle of mean-spirited social authoritarianism and it's not a place that most British people want to be.

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