Clegg, Cameron coalition positives or is the economy Con-Dem-ned?

Posted on: 12 May 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

Labour and Lib Dems coalition talks failed, Nick Clegg struck a deal with David Cameron - not his own party, and PM Gordon Brown resigned with immediate effect. All in all an historic day in politics. But what now?

I would like to think my blog yesterday played some small part in persuading Nick Clegg to do the right thing – but I think it unlikely. Still, who cares? He made the right decision for the country, the Liberal Democrats and himself.

Gordon Brown and his cronies have left government – thank the Lord. Thirteen years was really too long – we couldn’t afford them and their mad spending any more. Hopefully we will now live under a government that is determined to stop profligacy and waste and make every citizen accountable for their contribution to society. Benefit cheats and wasters look out.

The task now facing Cameron and Clegg is monumental. To stop the machine Labour has built will be a difficult and painful task. There will be hardship by those affected and austerity for the rest of us. We are seriously exposed as an economy and it will take a lot to get us straight.
A report out yesterday cautions that to achieve necessary spending cuts, some government departments could be cut by as much as 25%. This will mean big job losses and that will hit the public sector hard. There will be protest and strikes – you can be sure of it.

Taxes will also have to rise – so if you have any essential purchases to make – make them soon as I’m pretty sure we will see a rise in VAT to 20% before the year’s end. This is a quick and easy way to fill government coffers and will produce a good few billions to pay off the debts we have built up over the years.

As this next six months plays out, nothing positive can be gained from moaning that it’s the Liberal and Tories fault – it isn’t, it is ours. We voted Labour in for three terms and put no brake on them. The party started to believe its own spin and that is a fatal mistake for any organisation to make let alone a government.

So it’s going to hurt and be tough. Since the beginning of the year I have maintained that the downturn would be prolonged and painful, and I'm confident we will not see the back of it until at least 2014.

There is no way forward other than to take the strain and the pain. David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be criticised (and, most likely, pilloried within their own parties) but they must hold their nerve. What they are about to embark on will change this nation for the better. The task that faces them is an unenviable one – I wouldn't want it for all the tea in China. All I can say is the best of luck to them both. They have asked for the chance and it has been given to them – let’s hope they’re up for it six months in? We’ll all be watching.

What can we do as an older generation? Well, we can temper the problems and challenges that our families will face. For many of them this will be the first time they have faced austerity – they will need to be calmed and schooled in how to survive it. Our generation has been through this before, so we can remember what it was like. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Yes, of course there is. Otherwise why would we have Great in the name Great Britain. 


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I know my views aren't everyone's cup of tea. If you think Clegg's duplicity has damaged the credibility of the LibDems or you believe Cameron should have stuck to his principles and formed a minority Conservative government, let me know. You can add your comments below or contact me at

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