Half Way Through It’s Term, How Do The Coalition Members Rate?

by Ray_North on November 14, 2012

If the Coalition Government manages to survive for the full five year term, then last week saw it pass its half way mark: good opportunity you might think to have a look at those who have thrived and those who have struggled.

So, objectively as I can, and not based upon whether I agree with them, which members of the Coalition government have thrived and which have sunk, who can say that they are ‘happily married’ and who should be filing for a ‘quickie divorce’?

Let’s start with the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Perhaps the most positive thing that can be said about Dave is that he is still there and will be at the next election. Despite his lack of decisiveness over the misdemeanours of some colleagues (Hunt, Mitchell, Schapps), the fact that he was very close to the now disgraced Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulsen, the fact that he has presided over a number of massively shambolic policy decisions and u-turns, and that the economic policy that was at the centre of everything has failed, David Cameron does not seem to have suffered too many grievous injuries. In fact, amazingly, given the mess that is his government, he is still pretty strong within his own party and may still be re-elected as Prime Minster of a majority government in two and half years time. So, objectively speaking, despite a few flying plates, which have bounced off him, Cameron is still, just, Happily Married.

The same cannot be said for Nick Clegg. Clegg’s performance as Deputy PM within a coalition government has been an unmitigated disaster. Given that his whole reason for getting into the marriage in the first place was to save the economy, introduce some constitutional changes, act as a brake on the Tories and establish the Lib-Dems as a popular and strong party of government, he has failed. For Nick Clegg – a Quickie Divorce would be the best option.

George Osborne hasn’t fared much better, he started life in the coalition as the Tory’s self-proclaimed political genius and a man who was so confident of his own abilities that he felt that not only would austerity work, but, that the public would proclaim him an economic saviour. He has been wrong on both counts – indeed, when George Osborne was booed at an Olympic medal ceremony it was the country delivering a very public verdict on his performance – he can thank his close relationship with Cameron and the fact that the coalition are so slavishly tied to the austerity programme for the fact that he is still in a job. Yep Quickie Divorce for Gideon.

William Hague has done rather well. He is fortunate to be at the foreign office and away from the debacle of domestic policy, but still, fair play, he has managed to re-invent himself as a sort of avuncular, wise Yorkshireman – government suits him, he is Happily Married.

Vince Cable has fared badly – although he is still loved and revered by the Lib-Dems, the truth is that he has proved himself to be an egotist who has vacillated from making little sniping remarks against the Coalition’s austerity, before stepping back and, in some cases, such as his rant against employment protection rights, sounding more Thatcherite than the Thatcherite’s he claims to revile. Nuh, sorry Vince, it’s a Quicke Divorve for you.

Michael Gove, is more tricky – subjectively, I hate everything he stands for and everything he has done as Secretary of State for Education – but, objectively, as a politician, he has shown that he is adept at tapping into a particular populist way of thinking, especially with his utterly ill-advised attack on GCSE’s and his glee when the performances went down, which went down well with the Daily Mail. The chances are that Gove will eventually be promoted within the Coalition – with perhaps one of the biggest offices in his sights and for some he is even being tipped as a potential next leader of the Conservative Party. Begrudgingly, Gove is Happily Married.

Jeremy Hunt has amazingly, been promoted from Culture to Health – but, I predict that his star will wane after the Leveson Enquiry reports in the next month or so, when, surely, there will be more than a passing reference to the closeness between his Personal Advisor and the Murdoch Empire. Given this, and his clear lack of judgement then, the decision to give him Health was a crazy one. And I predict the appointment will come back to haunt Cameron when the changes in the NHS start to kick in next year. Hunt should prepare for a Quickie Divorce.

Theresa May, hasn’t performed badly as Home Secretary – the Police Commissioners thing is bonkers and her spat with the Police is predictable, but, at least, she hasn’t joined the shrill calls for us to leave the European Court of Human Rights, nor, has she introduced any new criminal justice legislation, whilst her style in the House of Commons despite the very strong challenge of the extremely able Yvette Cooper has been strong. Yes, Theresa, remains Happily Married.

The same can’t be said for Ken Clarke, I thought that coalition would suit Ken, but it hasn’t – despite talking more sense than any politician for a generation on the subject of sentencing and the Criminal Justice System, his casual laid back style and his appearance of not being quite on top of his brief has left old Hush Puppy looking a little bit tired. His demotion to Minister without portfolio spoke volumes, he is deemed to be past his best and, I’m sad to say, whichever way you look at it, he is now yesterday’s man – Quickie Divorcefor Ken.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth November 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

I take it that Iain Duncan Smith is still talking to the marriage guidance lady…

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Ray_North November 15, 2012 at 10:48 am

Yes, I was going to appraise IDS – and had planned to mark him as ‘positive for now but trouble coming down the line’ – but then the football came on the tv so I never quite managed it!

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