Saturday, 31 July 2010

Calmly Radical

The summer recess is here and politics is going away on holiday.
'Better than the last lot' was Jeff Randal's verdict. Not difficult really - and what a relief after the forces of anger, hatred and deceit finally left the stage.

So how have they done? Radical, that's for sure.

Eight short weeks into a government program scrambled together whilst assembling the first national coalition in half a century, and the government has embarked on the most radical reform program possible: halving Labours profligate borrowing, deep reforms in welfare, education, the NHS, policing, prisons, and immigration as well as constitutional changes the like of which we have not seen since women's suffrage in the 1920's.

And Labour always told us Cameron was policy light. Naughty Labour.

The most obvious change though has been in attitude. A quiet determination to apply real solutions to pressing problems, with calm and curtesy. None of the frenzy that characterised NewLabour and its spin machine.

And yet the big loser - at least in polling terms - appear to be the Liberal Democrats. The latest polls show them languishing at around 15%. So what, in policy terms, did the LibDems actually secure?

They agreed and are implementing the necessary deficit reductions from their own manifesto. They have secured constitutional reform including AV with a referendum set for 5th May next year. They have secured - through Michael Gove's educational reforms - the 'pupil premium' of their manifesto. They are set to take out a tier of buraucracy - strategic health authorities - from the NHS as outlined in their manifesto. They have secured a prison reform program that was widely criticised in the leader's debates during the election campaign. And perhaps most significantly, the tax threashold was increased towards their much publicised objective of £10,000 in George Osborne's emergency budget. Not a bad haul for a party providing just 59 of the 365 coalition MP's.