Firstly, Merkel proves that grandstanding about whether people will or won't enter coalition won't make any difference. The piece in the Telegraph on Monday suggesting that Cameron would pledge not to enter coalition again only proves an air of arrogance that we haven't seen in a while. From my experience, people on the doorstep quite like the fact that coalition means a middle way. It's a sad indictment on the two major parties that the likely outcome of the next General Election is that the public finds both of them too shabby to award an overall majority. Merkel is well versed in coalition building, in the national interest or otherwise, and she knows that the public should never be second guessed. This is something the Conservatives could do with remembering.
On another front, her visit says something very important about a Conservative Party prone to puffing it's chest over Europe. It's all well and good whining about referenda or rebates, but would any of the Tory back-benchers have the gall to say it to her face? There's no irony lost on me in the fact that whilst Cameron tries to be as macho on EU reform as possible, we're welcoming the head-honcho with open arms. The reality is, whatever squabbles we're currently having about the EU (regardless of the fact that a referendum has already been legislated for, thanks very much), I wouldn't be surprised if a fair amount of fawning goes on on all sides. At least we can breathe a sigh of relief that Peter Bone is otherwise engaged.
|Germany, in safe hands.|
I, for one, am glad that Liberal Democrats at Spring Conference will have the option to support truly progressive and forward-thinking policy - not bound by some kind of trial by Daily Mail. If we can learn anything from Angela Merkel, it's to accept that coalition is a very likely possibility, but steam ahead regardless; carving a vibrant and Liberal vision for the United Kingdom. Then, and only then, we will be able to show the other parties for what they are - shabby little men, chasing polls more than they're chasing votes. The people of this country deserve better.
As Delia Smith might say, 'Let's be 'avin you.'