The UK Coalition government has marked its halfway point by claiming it is “steadfast and united” – apart from Lord Strathclyde, who resigned from his Cabinet post as Leader of the House of Lords today.
He is being replaced by Lord Hill, who himself tried to resign as an education minister in September but was – inadvertently! – kept in-post by David Cameron, who completely failed to realise what was going on, told his visitor to keep up the good work, and rushed off to a press conference.
In other words, the Coalition has marked its halfway point with another example of its most outstanding feature so far – a cock-up.
What’s worse is that Strathclyde told David Cameron he was going over the New Year break – so the comedy Prime Minister actually had time to arrange matters in a less embarrassing way, and didn’t!
Apparently there’s no political reason for Strathclyde to have chosen this moment to go – he just feels he’s done his time and wants to get into a business career while he still can. Does that ring true? His departure means opponents of the Tory/Lib-Dem mishmash can have another good laugh at the Coalition’s expense, while also speculating on why he wants to go into business when the economy is still tanking?
The leaders of the Coalition, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, even managed to shoot themselves in the feet with their comments on the mid-term review.
“We will support working families with their childcare costs,” they said on the day child benefit changed from being universal to a means-tested benefit, taking money from thousands – perhaps millions – of families across the country.
And, highlighting welfare changes that were found to be leading to an average of 73 deaths every week, and education changes that have led to an appalling drop in teachers’ morale, they wrote in the document’s foreword, “On all of these key aims, our parties, after 32 months of coalition, remain steadfast and united”.
That’s a joint admission of guilt, then.