Well. I was always uneasy about negotiating with the Lib Dems. However, I do think this is the sort of deal that was necessary given the result of the election. Whether it works or not will make a big difference to peoples' views of PR. I don't think the last 5 days has warmed anyone to it. My biggest concern is that the Lib Dems can be quite a devious bunch, hiding behind their "pleasant" front and engaging in a very opportunist form of politics. The secret negotiations with the Labour Party behind the Conservatives' back are an example of exactly what I mean. If Nick Clegg can keep this aspect of Liberal Democracy in check, maybe we have a deal that will work for the Country - which is what it is all about.
The biggest overarching factor is the good news that New Labour has gone. They were, throughout the election campaign, a party in denial. Spending their time raising threats about "Tory cuts" seemingly burying their head in their sand and pretending all is tickety-boo with our economy. It ain't. And, however, dignified his exit was, we have also managed to get rid of a pretty dire Prime Minister. The last few days it was pretty clear that the Country was being led by the unelected and totally undesirable Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell - we must never allow that to happen again.
I remain convinced that there are massive savings to be made from eliminating waste and ending Government meddling. New Ministers should be obsessed with this. When I worked for the MoD, Michael Heseltine had a programme where he sat every senior member of the department in front of him and made them justify their department and the jobs within it, digging deeper if it was needed and using that as a basis for eliminating waste. Every Minister should be doing that from day one.
One of my disappointments with the outcome of this election is the emerging news that Michael Gove will not be appointed to whatever replaces the Department for Children Schools and Families. I have worked with Michael and listened to him a lot over the last few years and I know he would have made a huge difference. Here's hoping he is given a post that his talents deserve. I also have my fingers crossed in a big way for Tim Loughton to be given the Children's Minister post.