David Cameron Is Britain’s new prime minister, and the Tories will govern in a “full and proper coalition government” with the Lib Dems. It will be interesting to see what “full and proper” means when it comes to collective cabinet responsibility and other nice points of the British constitution. Also, apart from some seats in the cabinet (to include Vince Cable as chief secretary to the treasury, apparently: if so, good choice), what has Cameron promised Clegg and the Lib Dems on electoral reform? A referendum, presumably. But which option would any such referendum put to the voters? I wonder if vows have been exchanged on that.
Meanwhile, in any event, this will be an unnatural alliance. One Liberal Democrat of my acquaintance tells me that it may split the party. Few Lib Dems have been waiting in the wilderness all these years to serve as junior partners in a Tory-led coalition. As I mentioned before, many of the party’s policies are to the left of Labour’s. The message that Brown and Mandelson have been broadcasting in the past day or two about a progressive alliance was disingenuous, no doubt, but not wrong. Labour and the Lib Dems are much closer than Tories and Lib Dems.