Conservative Diary

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The Coalition's early achievements

It's early days but what are the Coalition's first achievements?

National Security Council convened to bring clarity to Afghan campaign. William Hague explains the strategy.

More academy schools. Top of my list would be the fact that one thousand schools have responded positively to Michael Gove's invitation to become academies. Gove's initiative may see the number of independently-managed schools quadruple.

Debt reduction has begun. Only one tenth of what needs to be done (according to the IFS) has been done but George Osborne's £6bn of spending cuts are a vital first downpayment. The establishment of the Office of Budget Responsibility will give us confidence that the new Chancellor can't manipulate budget numbers in the way that Gordon Brown did.

Government spending exposed to scrutiny. We learn today that all government expenditure is being put online. Yesterday Andrew Mitchell announced an Aid Transparency Guarantee to give taxpayers confidence that their money is genuinely going to the world's neediest people. Top Whitehall pay has been published. Transparency is one of Cameronism's seven biggest ideas.

Cutting red tape. The biggest example of this so far is the end of Home Information Packs, delivered by Eric Pickles and Grant Shapps. Iain Murray has praised the Coalition's overall programme for deregulation.

ID cards programme abolished. Other civil libertarian ideas were set out by Nick Clegg.

Fewer quangoes. Michael Gove has already scrapped three education quangoes and yesterday Vince Cable said that in addition to the 13 quangoes he has already scrapped he has plans to end or merge another 20. "It looks as though the march of the quangos may finally have been halted," concludes The Telegraph.

More freedom for local government. Ring-fencing of funds has been abandoned for much of central government's grant to local government as a first big step towards greater localism. We've also seen the end of expensive Comprehensive Area Assessments and the axeing of Regional Spatial Strategies. The Economist reports that Eric Pickles is battling Vince Cable in a determined bid to end Regional Development Agencies.

I deliberately haven't included the radical agenda of The Queen's Speech, notably IDS' welfare reforms. What have I missed that has actually happened?

Tim Montgomerie


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