Friday, 11 February 2011
Cracks Begin to Appear in ConDem Coalition Government
Turmoil within the ConDem government has become increasingly apparent in recent days. 88 Lib Dem councillors, with some 17 council leaders, in a letter to The Times newspaper, complain that the government’s cut to local authorities’ budgets are too deep saying, "These cuts will have an undoubted impact on all frontline council services, including care services to the vulnerable." They also accuse Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary of State, of “letting down” users of council services and of refusing to work with local councillors.
This mini rebellion comes a day after the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott resigned as the Lib Dem’s treasury spokesperson, after criticising the government’s pitifully weak deal with the bankers, branding treasury negotiators as “incompetent”, for “not being able to negotiate themselves out of a paper bag”. Furthermore, Oakeshott is known to be close to Vince Cable, the Business Secretary and deputy leader of the Lib Dems, whose fate now looks to hang on the outcome of the government commission on the future of banking, under the chairmanship of Sir John Vickers, which is due to report later this year.
I also noted with interest, that Francis Maude, Cabinet office minister, was heckled on BBC television Question Time, when he was trying blame the last government for the public spending cuts that are being enforced by the coalition. He also seemed to lose it the previous night on BBC Newsnight, when he was debating the cuts.
The Labour leader Ed Miliband advised the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at PM’s questions in Parliament this week, “not to get so angry,” when responding to questions. Of course Cameron specialises in the ‘Flashman’ role of public school bully, but it does seem to me that both the coalition government’s parties are getting rattled. This should come as no great surprise, opinion polls continue to show a draining of support for the Tories and particularly the Lib Dems, and the bulk of the public spending cuts have not even been felt fully by the voters yet.
The honeymoon period for this government, which has not been in power for a year yet, is well and truly over. Contrast this to the last Labour government, which was riding high in the opinion polls for several years after it was elected, and we can, I think, see the beginning of the end for the ConDem administration.
They have had some success with the ‘blaming the previous government’ line for everything for a while, but I think this is wearing a little thin now. People are coming to realise that this government is ideologically committed to hacking back the state, and with it, the welfare state, whilst lining the pockets of the rich at the expense of lower and middle income people.
If the referendum on the Alternative Vote is lost, and either way, this is bound to cause some turmoil within the coalition, we could well see the coalition torn apart later this year. A general election can’t come quick enough for me, and I look forward to 57 ‘Portillo’ moments as the Lib Dem MP’s are kicked out, and this odious government is ejected.