What's the point of the Coalition mid-term review?

David Cameron and Nick Clegg arrive to deliver the Coalition's mid-term review at Downing Street. Photo: PA Wire

The Coalition Government issued a mid-term report today and I am going to be honest and say that I am struggling to find anything sensible to write about it. I mean, what was the point?

You probably know the answer to that. We're in a new year and there is a news vacuum, so they dreamed up a way of filling it. However, here, in no particular order, are a few thoughts and predictions:

  • All the bromance stuff has got really excruciating. It is like watching two tipsy uncles try to do a comedy routine after Christmas lunch. However…
  • These two do genuinely quite like each other and get on better than most senior government figures I can recall. Both feel alienated from large sections of their own parties and have more in common with each other than with many of their colleagues.
  • The idea of a fixed-term parliament has made this point in the cycle seem very flat. Normally, we would be whipping up speculation about an early election by now, but all that is a thing of the past. We have 850 days to go until the next election, come what may. 850 days. That's several political lifetimes, so it is hard to get too excited about anything that is said or done at this point in the cycle. In one sense, this suits Number 10. It means it can get PR nonsense like today's relaunch on the air. But it has its problems, too. The public just isn't listening and therefore it becomes harder to change perceived wisdom.
  • We had better get used to this. I see no evidence whatsoever of a Tory breakthrough or indeed of a surge of enthusiasm for any of the main political parties, which makes another coalition by far the most likely outcome when we do finally crawl to the finish line in 2015.
  • This will suit David Cameron just fine. The only thing that keeps him awake at night is the prospect of a small Tory majority, which would give some of his right-wing MPs the whip hand. Unless Labour gets its act together and romps home as the largest party, we will be on this ticket all the way until 2020, which is 2,675 days away!
  • All of this is pretty irrelevant anyway, since all anyone cares about right now is whether the economy is going to recover. And neither The Prime Minister or his Deputy knows the answer to this question. If we end up hitting a triple dip, these press conferences are going to get a lot more lively.

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