Brownies from the Saltford pack become the first ever people to spend the night at the Roman Baths in Bath, as part of the “Museums at Night 2010” event
Dave and Nick’s coalition conundrums
Forget the economy. Some of the knottier challenges ahead for coalition Britain involve simple logistics. The BBC, for instance, must appear absolutely impartial. But with only one party of opposition and two of government, troubling issues of how airtime is to be divided between the Tories and Lib Dems are inevitable—not to mention who gets to go on Question Time.
The quagmire of cabinet reshuffles has been negotiated, in principle, with a strict “one in, one out” policy—blue always replaces blue, yellow replaces yellow. But whether the prime minister really will take final decisions on cabinet posts “in consultation” with his deputy is less clear. Similar problems will apply to coveted No 10 adviser jobs, where jealous Tories fear losing out. Clegg and co may find their party out of pocket too: although they argue they’re still entitled to some of the money allocated to opposition parties, their income is unlikely to remain at pre-election levels.
Worst of all, the nation’s great and good may suffer. The Tories are six to one up in Commons and cabinet—but will this extend to guest lists at No 10 parties? Half a dozen Tory-friendly celebs to every Liberal will surely make for some sedate celebrations.
Joining the government: easier said than done
The Conservatives make much of their “big society” agenda, but their manifesto’s “invitation to join the government of Britain” may prove tricky. New research from pollsters Mori revealed that while roughly half of the population wanted to “get more involved” locally, just 5 per cent wanted “active involvement.” But even that looks promising compared to those already taking part in community activities—a mere 2 per cent. Moreover, over half of those involved in local decision-making felt they had little influence, and expressed dissatisfaction with their council. A bigger society, it seems, is still quite some way off.
Time to conduct the electoral post mortems
Behind the coalition, a battle rages: why didn’t the Tories win outright? Within hours of the election result, Conservative Tim Montgomery launched a 7,000-word report slamming Cameron’s unwillingness to talk tough on crime and immigration, implicitly fingering his svengali Steve Hilton in the process. Quietly, however, friends of team Cameron are…