>The first 100 days of the coalition

>It doesn’t seem possible that 100 days have passed since David Cameron walked through the doors of Downing Street, followed soon after by Nick Clegg. 105 Days ago, as the Liberal Democrats surveyed the rubble of a campaign that failed to capitalise on ‘Cleggomania’, they could hardly have imagined being in such a position.

Unsurprisingly, given the relative size of the parliamentary parties, policy has thus far leaned towards either the Conservatives, or areas on which there was already agreement. That said, the Lib Dems have secured critical progress on an area in which there was major disagreement, electoral reform. The referendum on fairer votes will be a crunch moment in the lifetime of this government.

On a range of issues, from the forthcoming ‘Great Repeal Act’ to cowboy wheel clampers, it has been  the Liberal Democrat’s who are the driving force.

I.D. cards, gone.
Contact Point, gone.
Child asylum seekers being kept behind bars, gone.

While the VAT rise may have made Vince wince, and Conservative immigration policy may have made Clegg cringe, on civil liberties and political reform the Lib Dems have taken the lead

Deputy Leader Simon Hughes today put forward a proposal whereby MPs get a veto on policy not in the coalition agreement. It is an interesting idea, and not without some merit. The ‘new politics’ is about debate and compromise, not simply ram-rodding through policy. Consultation will also help keep the Tory right and the Lib Dem left happy. If they feel they are having a say, and that the government isn’t simply being run by the One Orange Nation negotiation teams and ministers, they are more luckily to support the government in harder times. Coalition though, means no party can veer of to its flanks too greatly.

The Liberal Democrats did not win enough seats to get their full agenda into government, but neither did the Conservatives. Over the next 100 days the Liberal Democrats must keep fighting to get their agenda forward, but twitchy MPs and members must remember it is a lot easier to implement your agenda from government than opposition. If the first 100 days are anything to go by, the party will be making the difference on green issues, on political reform, on civil liberties, and on localism.

After all, aren’t they the reason people voted Liberal Democrat?


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