Well, it’s all over. The coming days will determine whether the deal now struck between the Conservatives and Liberal democrats is a good one or not – and if it is a good one – for whom. David Cameron set out his goals on the steps of 10 Downing Street and I have reproduced his words below. On policy, it seemed a re-run of Cameron’s speeches – strong references to family, responsibility and the line that reminds me of a line in House of Cards about “coming together” (the comparison is made in HofC to a brothel slogan).
I would also have liked to see more humility, a recognition of the need for a fusion of policy and a clearer recognition that he failed to win the election. The Lib Dems have 5 seats at the Cabinet table but the Tories have locked the foreign office, defence and the economy. This essentially locks any decision as a Tory one. Quite where Huhne will go on nuclear power for example in his role at energy and environment will be fun for Tories to watch and nerve jangling for progressives.
The deal is now down to personality. The various Tories last night talking of a Tory government suggested they didn’t get it – they contineud to view this as a Tory government propepd up by the Lib Dems. It is not. The question is, will Cameron and the Cabinet set them straight? We will get a clearer picture of the policy detail later today (or so the BBC tells us) and only then will we really know where we stand. Will the Tories have shelved their planned repeal of the Human Rights Act? How will sexuality and gender figure in this 5 year policy agenda? If we get further homophobic remarks from Tory MPs will Cameron sack them/remove the whip? Will Lib Dem members of the Cabinet pressurise him if he fails to? Finally, what on earth will Nick Clegg do? DPM without a department seems a massive mistake to me but we shall see.
I’m going to take a little rest for a few days from this blog and I’ll be tweeting less so I can catch up with all the work I should have done over the past few days. The blog will revert to more stories about law and sexuality – thanks for staying with me over the election period.
Here’s what Cameron said:
‘Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government and I have accepted. Before I talk about that new government, let me say something about the one that has just passed. Compared with a decade ago, this country is more open at home and more compassionate abroad and that is something we should all be grateful for and on behalf of the whole country I’d like to pay tribute to the outgoing prime minister for his long record of dedicated public service.
In terms of the future, our country has a hung parliament where no party has an overall majority and we have some deep and pressing problems – a huge deficit, deep social problems, a political system in need of reform. For those reasons I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.
I believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that I think we need so badly. Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders that want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest. I believe that is the best way to get the strong government that we need, decisive government that we need today.
I came into politics because I love this country. I think its best days still lie ahead and I believe deeply in public service. And I think the service our country needs right now is to face up to our really big challenges, to confront our problems, to take difficult decisions, to lead people through those difficult decisions, so that together we can reach better times ahead.
One of the tasks that we clearly have is to rebuild trust in our political system. Yes that’s about cleaning up expenses, yes that is about reforming parliament, and yes it is about making sure people are in control – and that the politicians are always their servant and never their masters. But I believe it is also something else. It is about being honest about what government can achieve. Real change is not what government can do on its own – real change is when everyone pulls together, comes together, works together, where we all exercise our responsibilities to ourselves, to our families, to our communities and to others.
And I want to help try and build a more responsible society here in Britain. One where we don’t just ask what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities. One where we don’t ask what am I just owed, but more what can I give. And a guide for that society – that those that can should, and those who can’t we will always help.
I want to make sure that my government always looks after the elderly, the frail the poorest in our country. We must take everyone through with us on some of the difficult decisions we have ahead.
Above all it will be a government that is built on some clear values. Values of freedom, values of fairness, and values of responsibility.
I want us to build an economy that rewards work. I want us to build a society with stronger families and stronger communities. And I want a political system that people can trust and look up to once again.
This is going to be hard and difficult work. A coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges. But I believe together we can provide that strong and stable government that our country needs based on those values – rebuilding family, rebuilding community, above all, rebuilding responsibility in our country.
Those are the things I care about. Those are the things that this government will now start work on doing.
Thank you very much’.