So the Tory beast returns to power. Although this beast will be hamstrung, tethered and muzzled. I am indifferent to this particular turn of events given that I cannot see it as being anything other than short-lived. I’m prepared to be proved very wrong on this, but I think a coalition with the Lib Dems is destined to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions. Personally, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the theatre. It’s certainly going to be very interesting to see how things turn out, especially when Cameron picks his Cabinet. Early indications point to Nick Clegg being made Deputy PM. Which sounds grander than it is, of course, given that it isn’t even a real position. John Prescott did it for ten years for Christ’s sake. You could draw a smiley face on an orange and give it that title.
Whoever came to power in this election was going to have to confront some rather harsh economic realities: a huge deficit and record levels of national debt. Any new government is going to have to take an axe to public spending – I’m happy for the Tories to play the role of pantomime villain, providing fresh impetus to regard them once more as the “nasty party”. This was a general election worth losing.
Gordon left with dignity and – I suspect – enormous relief. Good luck to him. He wasn’t cut out for the centre stage anyway. I expect we’ll see David Miliband taking on Cameron at Prime Minister’s Question Time in a few months, thus giving us the scenario where the Conservative’s answer to Tony Blair goes head to head with Blair’s true successor. (Here’s a question: if Clegg does become Deputy PM, will he stand in at PMQs when Cameron is away?)
This is going to be the most fractured and ineffectual Conservative government since the last one. It’s going to be very interesting….