Last night, it was wonderful to see the Newbury Town Hall chamber full to bursting with LibDem activists for David Rendel’s post-election thank you party. I can vouch for the fact that this was the happiest campaign in memory. The numbers who turned up at the party were way in excess of those expected and it was great to see many faces that I did not recognise – new faces in other words.
I saw a number of commentators admiring Cameron’s performance at Prime Minister’s Questions this week, using epithets such as “statesmanlike”. Leave it out.
He’s in his honeymoon period anyway, facing an acting Labour leader. But, because of the coalition arrangement he has three other advantages:
1. He doesn’t have to defend the worst excesses of Conservativism, because such sharp edges have kindly been nixed from the Coalition agreement by Andrew Stunnell etc and the rest of the LibDem negotiators.
2. A lot of the things which Labour would have criticised Cameron for not doing have been kindly added to the Coalition agreement by the LibDems.
3. Cameron is facing only one major party opposing him, rather than the usual two.
So, yes, it’s easy to be “statesmanlike” in such a position. Maybe when school building programmes get cancelled to provide money for “free schools” and police, hospitals and care schemes get cut severely, it may not be so easy for him to appear “statesmanlike”. And, of course, he doesn’t read out beetroot and tractor production statistics like Brown – he’s only been in power a month. He hasn’t got any beetroot and tractor production statistics to read out!