There was something a little underwhelming about the event at Downing Street this afternoon. There they were, the bride and groom (I’ll let you decide who’s screwing who) renewing their vows after only two and a half years, both leaving the impression that they had very few tender words to say to each other. It was very much like that old ITV drama ‘A Bit of a Do’, where the cast spent each episode going to different family weddings and funerals. It was very much keeping up appearances for the sake of the children.
There’s an old truth in politics that if you haven’t got much to say, don’t bother making much of an effort to say it.Cameron and Clegg clearly failed to learn that lesson. They were oh so keen to appear friendly and as if you couldn’t put a piece of paper between them. but the longer the charade went on, the more you started thinking about the reality of the situation they find themselves in. I say this in a caring way, as I was wholly in favour of a full blown coalition right from the start. I thought it was the only way for stable government, and I still think I am right. But for Cameron and Clegg to pretend that the coalition will continue as it is right up to the general election was both fatuous and unbelievable. Even if we discount the need for the Conservatives to define themselves, the LibDems certainly have to – otherwise they face electoral oblivion. Can they really do that in an unchanged coalition? It will be interesting to see them try.
Apart from reeling off a lot of tractor statistics, did either Cameron or Clegg actually say anything of substance? Did they announce anything new? With the exception of a new Freedom Bill (commonly known as a sop to the LibDems) I can’t think of anything that hadn’t already been trailed in the media prior to today. And what about the economy? Nothing new at all.
Indeed, the only think I remember from this ‘relaunch’ was David Cameron committing himself to a TV debate during the next election campaign. That just about says it all.