Yesterday John Rentoul wrote a fascinating piece on the Dave and Nick relationship.
I am told that [David Cameron] has recently had a lot of “quite angry” meetings with Nick Clegg. Where once civil servants liked to compare the polite and mutually respectful dealings of the coalition leaders with the storms of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s dysfunctional “coalition”, insiders now say that there are similarities after all.
I understand that one of Cameron and Clegg’s disputes was over the change announced in the June spending review to make claimants wait seven days before being eligible for out-of-work benefits. Clegg felt he had been bamboozled; Cameron said, in effect, that he should have read the small print of the Chancellor’s proposals.
These squalls came before the Home Office’s “Go Home” vans carrying adverts nominally aimed at illegal immigrants, about which Liberal Democrat ministers have been most exercised over the summer. Clegg and Jeremy Browne, the Lib Dem Minister of State in the Home Office, were furious, but it was too late. They were both on holiday when Theresa May, the Home Secretary, approved the billboards, which might as well have read “Vote Conservative”.
As John Rentoul and others have noted, in the past the relationship between Cameron and Clegg has been strong, and not as problematic as many feared when two parties form a coalition.
I’ve always been of the opinion that the coalition will go the distance to the 2015 General Election (and still am), however if the relationship between Cameron and Clegg begins to deteriorate further, it may be worth reviewing the following markets.
With William Hill, Liberal Democrats to leave the Current Government before 1st January 2015 is 3/1
If the coalition does end, either with the Lib Dems or the Tories leaving/ending the coalition, then I suspect we’d have an election shortly thereafter, as a minority Conservative government would struggle to pass legislation and budgets, and the Lib Dems wouldn’t prop up a minority conservative government, as they’d get the blame for any unpopular things the minority conservative government did without any of the influence they currently have, and the success of any minority conservative government, the success would be wholly apportioned to David Cameron and the conservatives.
Several bookies have a market on the year of the next election, the best odds on a 2013 election is 25/1 and for a 2014 election it is 11/2.
Thanks to Antifrank for alerting us to this story on an earlier thread.