In spite of deep-seated disputes over constitutional reform, the coalition will hold steady. The deepening threat to our economy from the Eurozone makes it ever more important that the coalition stays united around its central economic purpose. Public borrowing remains stubbornly high, but deficit reduction is a mantra that unites all coalition ministers and efforts to tame the nation’s finances will no doubt be redoubled this autumn. On public sector reform, especially school education and welfare reorganisation, there is a substantial prize to be won – and the spoils divided equally between Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Aside from that, David Cameron will know that, in spite of this streak of defiance from his coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats are languishing in the polls and will be as reluctant as he is to precipitate an early General Election.
Mark Field is Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster.
Nick Clegg’s tantrum over the failure of Lord reform has brought relations between the Lib Dems and Conservatives to a new low. Having once said that redrawing constituency boundaries was not in any way linked to Lords reform – because the coalition agreement made it clear that it was linked to the AV referendum bill, which Tories held their noses and voted for – now Clegg says that tit for tat is appropriate. For a man trying to persuade voters that coalitions are the best way to govern, he is doing a poor job. Tory MPs can sense defeat at the next election. The economy is struggling under high taxes and excessive regulation. Germany is refusing to bail out weaker Eurozone nations. David Cameron and George Osborne have lost the Midas touch. The only chance for a Conservative victory is for the party govern as a minority government – as it should have from day one.
Donal Blaney is chief executive of the Young Britons’ Foundation.