8 January 2013

Rose Garden II - the mid term review

I'm not the only person seemingly underwhelmed by the coalition's mid term review.  Stephen Tall on Lib Dem voice talked about 'wasted opportunities' and Newsnight even illustrated the dearth of new initiatives with the sound of tumbleweed.

My main issue with it (apart from the unnecessary repeat of the Rose Garden double act) is that it takes no regard of the origins of the various policies or what the competing elements of the coalition are seeking to do going forward.  Now I know the document was probably written by some civil servant or policy wonk - but it is in both parties interests to be clear where the fault lines lie and these could have been presented in the document.

This has been the main failing of Clegg, Lib Dem ministers and their advisers over the last two and half years - at no point have they argued what their purpose is in government and what they aim to achieve over its lifetime.

I argued nearly two years ago that the party needed an agenda for government - saying:
What the party has to do is to be clear - in about four simple and populist sentences - about what they are doing and working to achieve in government. And why these things are those that a Tory government would never do.
The mid term review takes us no closer to that and leaves the voter looking in on an essentially Tory government being propped up by compliant Lib Dems.  And that can only be a bad thing for what's left of the party on the ground.

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