Saturday, July 10, 2010

Drawn Together

Tories, Liberal Democrats may be stuck together

Any British conservatives looking forward to the next general election as an opportunity to ride themselves of their Liberal Democrat coalition partners may be disappointed at some recent comments by Prime Minister David Cameron -- he suggests the coalition may continue after the next election.

"That will depend on how things feel at the time, but I'm enthusiastic about what we're doing because I think we are delivering good government at a difficult time," Cameron announced. "I think if we can succeed we can demonstrate that these two parties can work well together for the good of the country –- that I think does reshape politics."

Cameron steadfastly insists that the coalition has been good for conservatives, and that his government is poised to deliver 80% of its election manifesto.

"This is a government that wants to roll up its sleeves and get on with the job and deal with the big challenges we face," Cameron remarked. "I think this government is delivering. I know people worry, isn't a coalition government going to be a lowest-commondenominator government? I think we have demonstrated we are not."

"It's important that the Lib Dems feel and are seen to feel that some of the things they care about are being delivered on and they are making a real contribution," he continued. "I don't hide that, I celebrate it."

Based on this, it seems that Cameron is willing to consider the possibility of continuing the coalition partnership after the next British election -- which will be set via fixed election date legislation.

While this prospect may seem troubling both for Tories and for Liberal Democrats, it shouldn't be considered all that surprising.

After all, if the Conservatives and Lib Dems didn't intend to be successful with their coalition, there would have been no point in establishing it at all. If the Tories and Lib Dem coalition is successful, the two parties will have a common record to run on. Neither party could criticize the other without effectively criticizing themselves at the same time.

This shouldn't be mistaken for suggesting that the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition is an untroubled relationship. Cameron recognizes the challenges of maintaining it.

"The coalition is a relationship that has to be worked on," Cameron admitted. "It's a bit like a seesaw – there will be some times it feels the Conservatives are making the running, there will be some times it feels like the Lib Dems are making the running."

The prospect of continuing the Tory/Lib Dem coalition after the next electio shouldn't be confused for a merger between the two parties -- far from it.

"Of course I expect Conservatives and Liberals will fight elections separately," Cameron said. "We have different underlying philosophies and differences in approach and policy. But obviously if we are fighting a separate election after a successful five-year government, I hope we will be relatively polite about each other."

If Britons judge the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government to be a successful one, there may be a strong prospect that they may be compelled to continue after the next election (the other possibility being a Conservative majority).

The Conservatie Party and the Liberal Democrats have been drawn together. Depending on the judgement of the British citizenry, they may be stuck together for a while yet.

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