Today the coalition government marks its first 100 days in office. After being at each other’s throats for years, the decisions that are made behind that famous black door in Downing Street, are now the responsibility of two men, and two parties.
As the unlikely alliance reaches its first milestone – 100 days in power, should David Cameron and Nick Clegg be celebrating or will they be relieved that they’ve made it this far?
The chaos and calamity that some, including the Conservative Party, warned would result from a hung Parliament has not yet materialised. If the lukewarm ratings are anything to go by, the new coalition has already emerged from the honeymoon period surprisingly fast, however there are still formidable hurdles to clear before this experiment in coalition government can be judged to have been a success.
Top of the coalition's list from day one was getting to grips with the deficit, the gap between what the Treasury takes in tax revenue and how much taxpayers' cash the government spends. During the General Election the Lib Dems had repeatedly questioned the Conservatives’ commitment to a tougher and tighter budget. It was clear days after the election that the Lib Dems were coming around to the Tories’ idea.
The coalition has presented a united front on the need to act now, and act boldly and it seems that when it comes to those seated around the cabinet table or in junior government roles, the two parties have gelled surprisingly well.
However, in recent weeks there has been a indication that they are worried that they had not done as well as they hoped in selling their core idea to the public, many of whom are nervous about the impact of the squeeze on spending. For Lib Dem MPs who remain on the back benches, the speed at which George Osborne wants to balance the nation's books is just one source of anxiety.
There have also been contentious issues, with unease over the flagship conservative policy the Academies Bill, and about the scale of the reforms to the NHS in England - a plan that was not in the coalition deal thrashed out in the aftermath of the election.
As the coalition moves forward, the focus on the relationships within and between the parties will only increase. With anxiety about the coalition generally running deeper among the Liberal Democrats than the Conservatives it is clear that there may be rocky times ahead. It is understood that both Cameron and Clegg have already spent a great deal of time cajoling to keep their MPs on board. However, the interest in the internal politics may disappear once the cuts announced in the Budget and October's spending review begin to bite.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017