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Daily View: 100 days of the coalition government

Clare Spencer | 09:22 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Commentators give their reviews of the coalition government's first 100 days.

The Times editorial applauds [subscription required] the coalition for making an "impressive" start at tackling the deficit:

Nick Clegg and David Cameron

"[T]here is a reason that the Lib-Con coalition has the best rating after 100 days for any government, with the exception of the first Blair adminstration, since 1979. A majority of the country agrees that paying off debt is the country's most pressing issue. The nation had a sense of a crisis unfolding and now has a sense of a government getting a grip. That remains the overwhelming question on which the coalition should be judged. It is still very early to pronounce but, so far, at least it should be judged well."

The Guardian editorial admits that even though the paper opted for a Liberal-Labour coalition, as it turns out they are impressed with David Cameron's leadership:

"In the past 100 days there has been much adjustment to new circumstances that reflects well on those who have undertaken it. Mr Cameron reacted more skilfully to the post-election realities than anyone. He has been a good learner about new politics - and a good teacher. The machinery of government has been run better under him than by Gordon Brown. Future party leaders of all parties should study Mr Cameron's work as a coalition premier so far."

In the Financial Times Tony Travers waits [registration required] for the results of Mr Cameron's "shoving back of the state" experiment before making a final conclusion:

"The combination of a recession and unusual election outcome has triggered a radical experiment in British government. If its logic is followed through, Britain (or at least England) will become much more like the US, with a reduced public sector but many more philanthropic and voluntary "good government" bodies. Whether it does will depend on whether the public really wants a smaller state to match its grudging willingness to pay tax. But if the era of Britain's big government is truly to be over, another issue matters more: just how far the coalition's liberal anarchists are willing to go."

Christina Patterson imagines in the Independent that she is briefing the Queen for David Cameron's performance review, where she suggests he is all style and no substance:

"Where one might feel just a flicker of anxiety is in relation to policy. Education appears to be a dog's dinner. The war on welfare looks about as destined for success, and as well planned, as the war in Afghanistan. And the economy, even before half the population is moved out to shanty towns, is looking "choppy". The big worry, Ma'am, is that the mass cull might kill the very thing it's meant to cure. It's a little too early to say, but I think we'd have to end this performance review by saying that the signs aren't looking good...
"David Cameron looks like a prime minister. He sounds like a prime minister. He acts like a prime minister. It's just such a shame that so many of his policies stink."

In the Telegraph Andrew Haldenby accuses the coalition of being inconsistent:

"David Cameron has talked of 'momentous decisions' on public spending, yet highlighted ideas such as replacing council gardeners with volunteers. He has spoken of 'decentralisation', yet personally overruled Crispin Blunt and Anne Milton on social events in prisons and subsidised milk. He has talked of 'transparency', yet abolished the Audit Commission, one of the few organisations to have successfully pinpointed success and waste in the public sector. In fact, this decision embodies the contradictions in the Coalition's early days: is it really good husbandry to save that £50 million a year, while protecting the NHS, which spends £50 million every four hours?"

Links in full

Times | Report Card
Guardian | The good, the bad and the novelty
Tony Travers | Financial Times | Cameron's shoving back of the state
Christina Patterson | Independent | Cameron: from gimmickry to gravitas
Andrew Haldenby | Telegraph | The Coalition talks tough but is too soft on the big spenders

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