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A Marriage of Convenience?

Cameron & Clegg in bed together

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Conservative leader David Cameron waxed lyrical about coalition and partnership at his joint press conference with Nick Clegg yesterday. But this is strictly a marriage of convenience. Labour + Liberal Democrats could have made very good sense – but those Labour MPs who emerged to decry any form of coalition with them saw that off. And who knows when Labour may return to power: the last interruption lasted only 13 years.

Lib Dem+Tory does not make sense at all, and that may soon become apparent. Constitutional changes now being embraced by Cameron – fixed-term parliaments, a referendum on the Alternative Vote (ok not embraced, but put forward) – are positive. So too are other changes like raising capital gains tax to as much as 40% – and it was Gordon Brown who cut it to 18%, turning it into a rate fit for private equity investors.

So there is some fixing of Labour-inspired actions taking place. Yet the Tories and Lib Dems are two parties absolutely not at ease with each other. Cameron and Nick Clegg may have got on well, as evidenced from their Downing Street rose garden appearance. But from there down the differences become more apparent. Cameron’s own Tory right-wing is quiet for the moment, but that won’t be for long. And at the Lib Dem grassroots level, large numbers of their troops are deeply dismayed.

In this new era of Lib Dem-Tory coalition, the “new politics”, who knows what will happen and when. All we can but sure of is that the Labour Party has no part to play in it.

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