I Will Support This Government 197

Having now seen the coaliton agreement, I can say that I can broadly support this government and am convinced that it will be an improvement on the bunch of authoritarian war criminals who have been replaced.

Here are the parts of the agreement that to me constitute a radical change for the better in the political possibilities for our country:

Civil Liberties

Scrap the ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the ContactPoint Database.

Outlaw the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.

Extend the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.

Adopt the Scottish approach to stopping retention of innocent people’s DNA on the DNA database.

Defend trial by jury.

Restore rights to non-violent protest.

A review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.

Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.

Further regulation of CCTV.

Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.

A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences.

End the detention of children for immigration purposes.

Add to that a fully elected House of Lords under PR, and fixed term parliaments, and this does represent real truly important change for the better.

The full coalition agreement is here.


Lifting the basic tax allowance towards £10,000 and restoring the state pension link to earnings are also major changes.

197 thoughts on “I Will Support This Government

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  • Duncan McFarlane

    I hope the Lib Dems do manage to make this government less authoritarian, but i have no trust whatsoever in the vast majority of Conservative MPs – who will follow the US as blindly as Blair and much of the right of the Labour party did into whatever wars they fight – and who only decry breaches of civil liberties while in opposition (much like the Blairites before them)

  • Craig


    The above is the agreed joint programme. They follow it, or the government falls.

  • david

    Said from the start that this could be a good thing for this country so long as the right people did the right jobs. Conservative to sort the economy LibDems to deal with the civil liberties issues.

    Looks like a good deal. The light at the end of the tunnel might just be a breath of fresh air and not an oncoming train !

  • Anonymous


    I am not a politician and I can find ways around most of the above. Most of it is open to wide interruption (double-speak).You have got absolutely nothing in real terms and you know it.

  • sid

    Craig….come on. You know that’s rubbish. Saying something in anagreement and then actually doing it are completly diferent things.

    It’s all rubbish…w

  • Shafiq

    It says that if the relationship breaks down, a vote of no confidence can be passed – but it would need 55% of the house to succeed, which from my calculations is impossible unless some Tory politicians vote for it.

    Not sure what the Lib Dem negotiators were thinking when they agreed to that

  • Anonymous

    Craig has taken on a kind of tory Alastair Campbell role, without pay?.

  • Craig

    Shafiq –

    Yes – that is a strange and unconstitutional provision. I see no reason at all to presume that the proposals are being put forward in bad faith. But time will tell.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    The commitment to move towards making the first £10,000 of income tax free is good – but i don’t see any mention of tax increases on big companies or the wealthiest, nor crack downs on tax havens. So how will it be funded along with deficit reduction?

    The language on it is also a bit vague and “aspirational” – i.e

    “We also agree to a longer term policy objective of further increasing the personal allowance to £10,000, making further real terms steps each year towards this objective.”

    Raising pensions in line with average earnings is in there as a solid commitment though (assuming the coalition survives till April 2011, which it might) – and i agree, that’s good news

  • Anonymous

    ‘first £10,000 of income tax’

    Thought that was a cornerstone of lib dems entering into a coalition.

  • MJ

    I don’t see anything there about ending the 28 day detention without charge power, surely one of the most scandalous police-state provisions.

  • technicolour

    Sariq: good & worrying point.


    We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.


  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    I hope you are right Craig – but I do sense anxiety in your rash of posts.

    I do not support this government for reasons I think you understand – that does not mean my admiration for you is in any way diminished – I hope I am proved wrong and we do not engage in destruction of families and the massacre of children in pursuit of global domination and the spread of western culture.

    Rather than being architects of destruction, perhaps like you we can strive for a higher consciousness that creates a magnificent civilisation synonymous with life, celebration, purity and knowledge.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    Some good news there on the civil liberties front, (assuming these promises really are cast iron and can’t get scuppered somehow). A few welcome rays of light to alleviate the darkness of the austerity measures that we are going to have to endure over the coming years. Had we had a “progressive” (LOL) coalition instead, I wonder what, if anything, New “Labour” would have been prepared to concede from it’s authoritarian agenda?

    A levy on the banks sounds good too, but is this just intended to contribute to an “insurance fund” so that the taxpayers don’t have to bail them out the next time they screw up, (as they inevitably will), or is it a punitive measure to pay back something to offset the massive damage they’ve done to the economy?

  • Craig


    No, New Labour absolutely could not subscribe to any of this and most of it is reversing appalling things they did. What rock have you been living under?

    The probleim is you NuLab supporters – MJ included – are under some really weirdo psychological denial of just what kind of government you were supporting.

  • MJ

    Craig please; I am not a NuLab supporter. I gave up on them years ago. I voted Lib Dem this time, just as I did in 2005.

  • Owen Lee Hugh-Mann

    There are those who blindly vote for a party because of its name, such as the National Socialist Party in Germany, rather than comparing its policies with rival parties and judging accordingly. They can’t understand that, if the rose has been substituted for a stinkwort, you can keep on calling it a rose but it still stinks to high heaven.

  • David

    Reading some of the comments on here it sounds like people believe the conservatives are out for global domination….. get real, they havent been in power for 13 years.. most of the bad stuff that this country has had happen and has been engaged in has been LABOUR policy, not conservative policy.

    The out going labour government where a disaster for this country, economically socially politically. Can any one think of something positive the last government did ? I cant.

    At least now we have a real chance to put this country right ( and i mean sort it out.. not right wing politics 😉

    I think this will work and i think it will work well. There will be problems along the way, there is bound to be. But for the first time in a long time I am optomistic about the future governance of this country.

    And for the record.. yes Im a tory boy, but even I can see the huge advantages that having the LibDems in some form of power will bring. They will reign in the excess of the conservative party.

    The futures bright.. the futures kinda blueyorange 🙂

  • Anonymous

    ‘under some really weirdo psychological denial of just what kind of government you were supporting.’


    Craig was talking to a mirror when he composed that.

  • Mike Cobley

    And reading this list of objectives, the alarm bells start to ring more louder still. I just dont believe it; I do not believe that this Tory party, its rank-and-file and its leading lights, will openly embrace this programme, advocate it and vote in favour of it. I would like to be proved wrong, but I dont think we’re going to get anywhere near the future that these proposals represent.

  • Cosmetic Brain Surgery

    I don’t trust this lot but I have to say I was taken back at what has been agreed, especially on civil liberties.

    Having said that there have been sections of the Tory party very unhappy with NuLabs approach to civil liberties – in fact some of the best quotes (on CL) I have seen over the past few years came from Tories.

    It’s certainly better than I’d have hoped for on May 6th, but I don’t trust any of them so we will wait and see what is delivered.

  • Jon

    Lovely, this from the IPS:

    “Both Parties that now form the new Government stated in their manifestos that they will cancel Identity Cards and the National Identity Register. We will announce in due course how this will be achieved. Applications can continue to be made for ID cards but we would advise anyone thinking of applying to wait for further announcements.

    “Until Parliament agrees otherwise, identity cards remain valid and as such can still be used as an identity document and for travel within Europe. We will update you with further information as soon as we have it.”

    A good start!

  • Anonymous

    ‘we can strive for a higher consciousness that creates a magnificent civilisation synonymous with life, celebration, purity and knowledge.’

    Given time (about 6 billion years) mankind may have evolved into such a being. About the same amount of time it will take the sun to turn into a red giant and obliterates him. If God doesn’t do it first.

  • Jon

    @All – there are a lot of anonymous comments here, which makes tracking who said what more difficult than it should be. Please, can’t everyone just put in at least a first name or a pseudonym?

  • Duncan McFarlane

    David wrote “most of the bad stuff that this country has had happen and has been engaged in has been LABOUR policy, not conservative policy.”

    Wrong. Most of it has been both. Destruction of our manufacturing firms – under Thatcher in the 80s.

    Private Finance Initiatives – begun under John Major, continued by Blair and Brown (renamed ‘public private partnerships).

    Privatised rail firms with above inflation fare rises and taking all profits, but subsidised by taxpayers – begun under Major (Conservative) – continued by Blair and Brown

    The Iraq war – all but 15 Conservative MPs voted for it. Over 100 Labour MPs voted against it (though the majority voted for it)

    Afghanistan war – all three main parties back it.

    David wrote “The out going labour government where a disaster for this country, economically socially politically. Can any one think of something positive the last government did ? I cant.”

    The national minimum wage, which has risen significantly since it was introduced. The Major government scrapped local wage councils and replaced them with nothing.

    Relative peace in Northern Ireland – the Conservatives refused to negotiate with the IRA at all, blocking any chance of peace for 18 years.

    Devolution for Scotland and Wales.

    The 10p tax rate for lower earners (sadly scrapped by the same man who brought it in)

    So there are at least three things that still exist today.

    You need to look further back than 1997 – the Conservatives were even worse than ‘New Labour’ when they were in government.

  • Iain Orr

    I’m happy to raise a glass that is considerably more than half-full to toast the coalition’s success. To see why this is a good way to resolve a real political crisis – caused by the strain of fitting three or more parties with serious electoral support into the FPTP electoral straitjacket – just consider the alternatives.

    First, a minority Conservative Government. It would be able to call another election as soon as it hit problems in Parliament. The strongest possibility woulkd be gaining a solid majority, with more influence for the anti-libertarian strains in the party.

    Second, a minority Lab-Lib pact (not enough votes for a full coalition) would either have had Brown still at No 10 or an early change of Labour leader/PM. Easy prey to a vote of no confidence with the same result as above.

    There are other variants, but after the actual results of the 6 May election, all would tend to the same result, a conservative majority with the “nasty” tendency in the ascendancy.

    The question that Clegg and his (excellent) negotiating team must have grappled with is this: “How can we enter the next election able to claim that – but for us – we would have had a measurably worse government?” Some of the concessions the LibDems have already won may not have cost Cameron much: in effect they help with parts of his own internal reform project. But taken as a whole, the LibDems have gained many more tricks than they might have, given the weak cards they held.

    If the LibDem share of the vote had been much better or if they had won up to 80 seats (and if there had been the arithmetic to support a Lab/Lib coalition), the sensible strategy might have been to win concessions from Labour. But that was never on. Clegg probably did well to contain the horrible pressure in a close election for the uncommitted to vote tactically for the big party they could live with rather than consider that LibDem policies, however attractive, might have any chance of being implemented.

    With a better LibDem result and a worse Conservative one, it might have been possible to bid for one of the top cabinet jobs. Paradoxically, however, in such a position Cameron would probably have been so much weaker that he would have been unable to persuade his party to swallow any coalition with LibDems.

    Is this arguing like Pangloss that this is the best of all possible worlds? Maybe. But all the other possible outcomes based on the actual votes and seats each party won strike me as being clearly worse.

    That said, it will be important for Clegg to make the Deputy PM role a serious one in such areas as human rights,and political reforms beyond a serious debate on PR. Reforms should include more freedom and influence for select committees (and less party control of membership and chairs of committrrs; select committees to have more holistic remits (eg topics such as Afghanistan require MPs to grill ministers in several departments – Defence, Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Development; and a review is still needed of our weak control over fraud and postal ballots.

  • alan campbell

    I presume you will have changed your mind again in about 30 minutes time, Craig?

  • ScouseBilly

    Craig at May 12, 2010 4:26 PM

    It’s always the same – they haven’t changed but their party has. They fail to recognise this.

    My sister-in-law is dyed in the wool labour and can’t see any wrong in them. On Sunday I gave her a birthday present which she seemed to accept with genuine relish: a book called Murder in Samarkand. My brother will definately enjoy it even if she doesn’t.

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