So, at last, David Cameron is our Prime Minister.
Gordon Brown was dignified in defeat. Despite his last minute attempts yesterday to rescue a ‘progressive’ coalition, he seemed today to have come to terms with defeat. Brown’s smile looked genuine for the first time in years. I suspect he will be happier having resigned, as will the country.
And that means David Cameron will be Prime Minister, the youngest since Lord Liverpool in 1812. In a formal coalition with the Liberal Democrats, his actions will not be unconstrained, but he is a flexible, pragmatic, character who, although I personally would prefer someone more to the right, is probably well suited to a coalition government.
The details of the coalition are yet to be confirmed. It sounds like the Lib Dems have done very well in terms of cabinet seats. The Tory right, most likely to object to a deal can probably be reasonably happy with agreement on the debt, red lines on the EU, immigration and Trident and a Lib Dem tax policy (raising the income tax threshold) that many right wing think tanks have been plugging for years.
The Lib Dems will I’m sure take the deal on the grounds of the seats, although there may be a few objectors on left-right grounds (though all three main parties are so central I think these classifications are outdated).
From this blog’s particular point of view, it will be interesting to see if the Tory policy of English votes on English laws is passed. The Tories already have a massive English majority, and the Lib Dems are only third in Scotland and Wales so there will still be issues with legitimacy in the devolved nations.
Still I feel moderately optimistic as another interest of mine, civil liberties, is an area in which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are in most agreement. I am also a big fan of the Tory school vouchers/ free schools policy – so hope for Michael Gove to keep his job and this to be pushed through, a pupil premium should seal the deal. And there seems to be agreement on the debt. Watching the markets at work, Lib-Con rumours got positive reactions, Lib-Lab poor ones, so it should be well set.
All in all, I feel a lot more optimistic about the country than I did last night when a Labour government looked more likely.
Congratulations once more to Prime Minister Cameron, let us hope he does a good job.