The FT lets rip today with an editorial calling for the prime minister to “get a grip on his team“.
It describes the NHS reform bill as “flawed and unnecessary“; says that Jeremy Hunt has failed to give a “satisfactory explanation” over apparent breaches of the ministerial code; his administration is “aloof and exclusive“; his choice of personnel were flawed (Andy Coulson and Peter Cruddas); he has “flip-flopped” on military procurement. et cetera.
This week marks a sorry second anniversary for the UK’s coalition government. After heavy losses in local elections, and in spite of a stage-managed reconfirmation of their vows in the key electoral battleground of Essex, the two governing parties are fretful and divided.
All governments hit a rough patch sooner or later. In her first term, Margaret Thatcher suffered a much heavier drubbing at the local elections than the coalition experienced last week. Given the UK’s anaemic growth over the past year, it is surprising that the stumble did not come sooner.
But the loss of public goodwill is particularly felt in a coalition that was initially buoyed by an unexpected outburst of popular enthusiasm for cross-party government. Adversity has now begun to reveal underlying cracks in the administration. If these are not repaired, they could threaten the integrity of the whole venture….
For the rest of the editorial it’s on ft.com here.