How to get a coalition into trouble

United in government, divided by intent, fooled by little things

Supply and demand?Supply and demand?
It always the little things. But then, in politics, what are the little things; how do you spot them before they become big things? At the moment the conventional political folk are besotted by the coalition's attempts to cut back waste, or just cut back, and so restore the financial health of the UK. The state broadcaster, Al Beeb, has a ready stream of factoids showing how babies will die and we will all have to learn to make tea from tree bark. Some other news reports, usually more right of centre, concentrate on defence cuts. This is presented as if the armed services are a sort of extreme sports club for gentlemen and should be left to do their own thing without interference. The notion that this has to be paid for is not addressed. It all a bit like Arthur Scargill's miners strike, "just let us dig the coal, it's our right".

Some say that to get to where they are today the Lib Dems and the Tory party had to take their core voters for granted and concentrate on 'bigger things'. Well let's look at where they are as part of a coalition with pseudo power, not the real thing. The Lib Dems seem to be in a tail spin, so steep is their decline you do wonder if there is anyway back for them. Their core voters are disillusioned and their leaders seem unsure of what to do with the power, Vince Cable is typical.The Tories also assumed their core vote would follow wherever they led. The Tories also proposed in their manifesto to put an end to the garden grab tactics brought in by John Prescott. While the Lib Dems in their manifesto offered the right of appeal against major planning developments that threatened the green belt.

However, jointly, the two parties are linked not only in a coalition but by what might happen when their policy of refusing third party right of appeal against successful planning applications comes into force. Put simply the more urban based Lib Dems will want to cover the UK with windfarms and the county based Tories will want to oppose this. And that's just the start. David Cameron was keen to tell us he was "heir to Blair", but the popularity of the Prescott scheme to allow all sorts of doubtful building to occur in urban gardens does make you wonder what he meant by saying that. As refusing appeals and changing the planning system to rule them out will be very unpopular.

It will get worse for the coalition when the subject of the housing shortage comes up. Sensible people will know we have always had a housing shortage. On a regular basis reports are filed in national newspapers saying this is so. Few people take this to heart as estate agent boards are so common, some of them looking quite weathered. The suspicion is this is a fiddle. It's always the case that the house builders' lobby likes to scare the government with its propaganda. If it's not the housing then it's the jobs. It's at this point the sensible people remind themselves that they have heard all this before; the Olympic games is typical. This event was presented as a 'must have' item. It would be a bonanza, fortunes would be made and we would all live happily ever after.

When however, the number of jobs filled by foreign workers to build the stadia became plain, it was a question of bonanza for whom? The 'British jobs for British workers' slogan struck a chord and rightly so. The Labour government had an immigration policy which seemed to be based on the logic of "as we have more people living in the UK we need more people". How exactly the second lot were to help the first was never made clear. And now heir to Blair Cameron looks all set to pick up where Blair left off. The builders' lobby have conned the coalition on the planning change, it won't be long before the protests follow. Then Cameron can go on TV looking all upset and misunderstood, he was doing it for us, our benefit. And it started off as such a little thing.