The Coalition one year on

Today is the first anniversary of the formation of the coalition government.

The present government took over when the fiscal position inherited from the previous administration was threatening to turn the UK into an economic basket case, and their first priority has had to be reducing the unsustainable deficit before Britain got into the same mess as countries like Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

Anybody who does not realise that without firm action, Britain's public debt would have spiralled completely out of control with disastrous consequences is living in cloud-cuckoo land. Labour know that - they put off the pain until after the election and kept very quiet about what was coming, but if you look at what one of the few honest Labour front benchers of the present generation, Alistair Darling, said when he was chancellor, it is pretty clear that a re-elected Labour government would have made £7 of cuts for every £8 that the present government is making now.

In many areas such as student tuition fees, police and courts funding, defence, and EU policy the government has had to choose between bad options and worse ones, with no good choices available. There are plenty of things the government has had to do which disappointed people, not because they wanted to do that, but because they had no choice.

Nevertheless, the number of areas where they have attempted bold and radical initiatives to reform and improve Britain is astonishing and I am still proud to call myself a supporter of David Cameron.

Achievements of the government include

* Scrapping ID cards
* Action to reduce the impact of fuel prices
* Freezing council tax
* Reducing Labour's "Jobs Tax" NI charge
* Action to reduce the impact of the recession on business
* Giving £6 million to Cumbria to repair damage to roads after last winter
* Greatly increasing the discretion of local councils on planning matters
* Finding £90 million for the West Cumberland hospital rebuild/refurbishment, for which Labour had promised first £180 million and then £100 million but never actually found the money
* A devolution bill for local councils which will give communities far more say on how they run their affairs.

No, of course they're not perfect and all governments make mistakes. But that's not a bad start.


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