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Yet another piece about one year of the Coalition

By Tim Montgomerie

I've written a piece for this week's New Statesman on one year of the Coalition. Here are three of my ten big observations:

The cuts are not ideological but straight out of the OECD/ IMF textbook: "Despite protestations from the left, the coalition is not prosecuting a great ideological attack on big government. Until two years ago, Cameron and George Osborne backed Gordon Brown's spending plans and attacked those on the right who called for a smaller state. The Chancellor does not have a Reaganite belief in the supply- side power of lower taxes. If any US president is Osborne's model, it is the post-stimulus Barack Obama. The current occupant of the White House is advocating a fiscal retrenchment for America similar in scale and composition to Britain's, differing only in the important matter of timing. Both countries promise to reduce their deficits by about 8 percentage points by 2015 and both will use spending restraint to do 75 per cent of the work."


Graphic from BBC1's Politics Show.

Concessions are about helping Clegg, not helping the Liberal Democrats: "Backbench Conservatives who oppose further concessions note that the Liberal Democrats would face annihilation from the electorate if they brought down the government. David Davis has said the Lib Dems are on the coalition aeroplane with good seats, but no parachute. They are not the ones, he says, who are "gonna blow up the plane". Yet Cameron's concession strategy isn't about stopping the Lib Dems from jumping off the plane. His main concern is to prevent them storming the cockpit and replacing his co-pilot with Chris Huhne, Tim Farron or Vince Cable."

The Liberal Democrats are not the only roadblock to reform: "Cameron's closest advisers have also become deeply frustrated by resistance from the bureaucracy, and they complain that human rights laws, European directives and an uncooperative civil service are as much a drag as the anti-reform voices within the Liberal Democrats. The Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin has calculated that only 40 per cent of the papers that cross his desk relate to the coalition agreement. The rest, in almost equal measure, originate from Europe or from within the Whitehall bureaucracy."

Read all ten observations in the New Statesman.


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