Last week the wash-up of the local elections continued as the nation prepared for the Queens speech in which the coalition government would reveal what it had in store for us in the second half of its term.
Martin Kettle’s analysis of the speech summed it up well, when he suggested that Cameron’s struggling to send a clear message to the nation about the coalition is for.
It’s true, his narrative is unclear and to an extent it is imbued with his Lib Dem partners, a stage he would rather not share.
Kettle’s analysis, which you can read here, suggested that the coalition is now at loggerheads. He wrote: ‘As a consequence the larger liberal conservative project that arguably framed the first year of the coalition is far harder to discern now. Indeed it would be difficult to say that the coalition now has any distinct project beyond economic stability and the government’s survival. Not that these are unimportant. But all the coalition’s eggs are suddenly in this one frayed basket – a far cry from the earlier strong sense that it had a vision of the kind of Britain it sought to build.’
Last week Cameron and Clegg hot footed it to Basildon to tell us what they had planned for us going forward. It was designed to reassure a nation which, as the election results the previous week indicated is resolutely unsure of this coalition.
But their meeting in a factory seemed strained and tired. There was no banter and the bonhomie had disappeared.
Body language expert, Peter Collett wrote a brilliant piece pointing out the body language between the two men. Cameron using strong hand gestures to signal to the nation he is in control.
Clegg also revealed more than he realised. Collett writes: ‘While he gave Cameron lots of attention and nodded in all the right places, a look at his feet showed his weight was often on the foot furthest from the PM. Consciously, he was being supportive, but his body was secretly trying to distance him from Cameron.’
As politicians this is something we must be constantly aware of, our every move is scrutinised; one wrong move can have significant consequences. And make no mistake- it will always be noted. Read Collett’s article in full here.
Yesterday Toby Helm wrote in the Observer that ‘Ed Miliband is in a strong position to secure an outright majority at the next election, according to a new opinion poll that analyses the views and voting intentions of recent converts to Labour.’
Helm wrote: ‘The YouGov survey for the Fabian Society shows that “Ed’s converts” – people who didn’t vote Labour in 2010 but currently back the party – are made up mostly of disgruntled left-wing Liberal Democrats, many so disillusioned that they are very unlikely to vote for Nick Clegg‘s party again.
‘About 75% of the converts – who have helped Miliband and Labour open an eight-point lead over the Tories in the poll – are former Lib Dems, 18% are ex-Tory supporters, and 7% are former supporters of other parties or people who did not vote in 2010.’
As always Miliband, rightly, remains cautious but optimistic. He believes we must build, among other things, a deep allegiance and he is right, and as he says there’s still lots of work to be done.