"A week is a long time in politics". One week ago Ed Miliband and Mitt Romney were both mocked as no-hopers. By general consensus, both have now climbed the ladder of possibility to be genuine contenders for national leadership. One week ago, I blithely thought that Richard Branson was whinging without justice about a lost contract, only to find his words justified by one almighty embarrassing c*** up in Gov't. And one week ago I would have described the Bryn-y-Gog Estate in Machynlleth in Montgomeryshire as one of the least likely places in the UK where a 5 yr old girl would have been abducted while playing amongst her friends. I've completely forgotten what I was worried about one week ago.
But to this 'One Nation' philosophy that Disreali developed and Miliband was majoring on yesterday. It's so long ago that I read 'Sybil'. I suppose its the same sort of thing as "we're all in it together". Anyway, Peter Oborne has written a very good article in today's Telegraph, where he advises David Cameron to major on his 'One-Nation' credentials - and recommit to his partnership with the Lib Dems in order to deliver it. He wants more 'rose garden' co-operation. I totally agree. Its been a theme of my postings over the last 30 months.
I cannot comprehend what is in the minds of colleagues who would welcome the Coalition's collapse. Two parties came together in a spirit of compromise for the benefit of the UK, following the most disastrous management of our economy in modern history. We knew it would be tough and that sacrifice would be needed. The Lib Dems made even greater sacrifices than my party did. I feel a sense in which I owe them - and I've spent most of my life opposing them in Montgomeryshire! We can only succeed as a team - playing in the same direction.
Lets look at the reasons that this coalition has been struggling. Firstly the collapse of Lords Reform, on top of the defeated AV referendum. Good riddance to both. Then there's the probable failure to approve new constituencies in time for the 2015 election. Personally, I believe that's good riddance as well. I never believed this stuff about it giving a 20 seat benefit to the Tories anyway. It drove a coach and horses through traditional constituencies, with a non-Tory disregard for history - and would be a massive blow to democracy in rural areas. Time to kiss, make up and move on - singing a 'One-Nation' duet in harmony. Let us put behind us what has gone. Our coalition must stand up for everyone in our country (including those who need public support), must show respect for public servants (especially while reducing public expenditure), must back each other publicly when the going gets tough (and stop the snide undermining comments about leadership of both parties). Of course, we as MPs will sometimes disagree over policy. There is disagreement over our EU relationship. I disagree ferociously over coalition policy on onshore wind, and will say so at every opportunity, but I'll not undermine Ed Davey. We are a team, up against another team. We will only win if we rekindle the spirit of the rose garden that promised so much in 2010.