Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Rules of disengagement

On the surface, David Cameron's increasing unpopularity with the electorate and large chunks of his own party, albeit for different reasons, seems to have accelerated a decoupling of purpose within the ConDem coalition.

This was only to be expected as their Westminster partnership enters the period where it begins to have more past than future. What is equally predictable is that Liberal Democrats would clamour how they had never left the centre ground during their time in office. Yet the nature of their impending estrangement remains dubious.

The move to re-establish some kind of duality is of course related in no small way to the electoral threat posed by UKIP's ascendancy in the polls. Despite the probability of a second term looking now less likely than a second coming, no-one in the senior Lib Dem circles is talking about switching partners. This is mostly because this week was about highlighting Clegg's fifth year as leader as a significant anniversary - even though the general discussion has over how quickly he managed to exceed his shelf-life. This will change.

In the meantime, the myth that Clegg's party has purportedly 'confronted' those draconian old tories is effectively given the lie by the fact that it is Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson who is steering through legislation to halve the statutory notice period for making people redundant. Shame on them.

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