Is there anyone in charge?

Philip Collins

After the significant nothing of the mid-term coalition review, two
points have survived two days of coverage. The first is that Nick
Clegg committed his party again to coalition. For anyone who doubted
that this coalition will last until the next general election,
this week’s press conference surely dealt with the doubt.

But another aspect of the choreography of the day left me astounded.
Why on earth, in a day of activity that has been devised precisely to
dramatize continued co-operation between Conservatives and Liberal
Democrats would you allow a Cabinet Minister (Lord Strathclyde) to
resign, citing his irritation at his coalition partners as his reason?

Surely whoever was in charge (is there anyone?) would have taken a
look at the diary and suggested gently to Tom Strathclyde that Monday
wasn’t an ideal day and could he possibly hang on a week? Don’t come
in for a week, stay in the garden. But don’t undermine the relaunch by
resigning in the middle of it.

The loss of the leader of the Lords is not the end of the world and
not many voters will have noticed. But I cannot help but wonder at the
comical ineptitude at the people running this mess and thank the Lord
Strathclyde that they are not planning a major overhaul of the benefit
system involving an administrative overhaul that has scared off every
government since the Second World War.  Ooops, they are.


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