SLF welcomes cancellation of ‘Coalition 2.0′

The Social Liberal Forum welcomes confirmation in the Independent on Sunday that there will be no new fixed coalition agreement for the second half of this parliament.

There is a lot more work to do on several bills currently passing through parliament – some of which, such as the Health and Social Care Bill, contain elements that we continue to find worrying. Others, for example implementation of the Vickers recommendations on banking, will require a concerted effort to pass into law. Now is not the time to plan a new raft of legislation. 

The original Coalition Agreement was an impressive document, containing many elements of a Social Liberal agenda for government and demonstrating the benefits of compromise – both for Liberal Democrats and for the country. 

However, it would not be appropriate to agree another full programme at this stage. Rather, we would like to see Conservatives and Liberal Democrats proposing their own ideas separately – as Nick Clegg did last week, with his welcome call for a further and faster rise in the income tax threshold. The two parties can then show how coalition works, positively, by examining each other’s ideas on their merits. We will support progressive social liberal measures, wherever they come from – and continue to oppose all measures that would widen the gap between rich and poor.

We believe that Social Liberal ideas are strong enough to attract consensus across government – and indeed across parliament – and we will continue to argue for them.

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3 comments on “SLF welcomes cancellation of ‘Coalition 2.0′
  1. Miranda Cook says:

    Brilliant. I thought that the coalition had wiped out any Social Liberal beliefs, but then you posted this. I am very happy that Social Liberal ideas are being argued for, instead of being mixed in with the Tories’ ideas and lost completely. Thank you.

  2. Simon Titley says:

    Is this story correct? It appears to confuse two separate but related initiatives, ‘Coalition 2.0’ and ‘Coalition Phase 2’. Both were intended to work out what the coalition should do when the measures in the original coalition agreement had been exhausted.

    ‘Coalition 2.0’ is (or was?) a joint Tory-Lib Dem group set up under the auspices of the CentreForum think tank. The Lib Dem side of this group comprises Chris Huhne, David Laws, Julian Astle (former director of CentreForum), Tim Leunig (chief economist of CentreForum) and Paul Marshall (hedge-fund millionaire and effectively the owner of CentreForum). With the exception of Huhne, all these people come from the free-market fringe of the party. ‘Coalition 2.0’ was intended to plan coalition policy for the 2012-15 period. It is not a government initiative but, when it was launched in the autumn of 2010, it was reported to have had the blessing of Cameron and Clegg.

    ‘Coalition Phase 2’ is (or was?) a joint Tory-Lib Dem initiative but within government. It is led by Danny Alexander and Oliver Letwin. It was intended to produce a second programme for government, to cover the period 2012-2015. The main policy input on the Lib Dem side was coming from Nick Clegg’s adviser, Richard Reeves.

    Given that ‘Coalition Phase 2’ is a government initiative and ‘Coalition 2.0’ isn’t, the content of the Independent on Sunday story suggests that it is the former that has been wound up and not the latter.

    Of course, it possible that ‘Coalition 2.0’ has also been wound up, but given that it has never publicised any of its activities, who knows?

  3. Simon Titley says:

    The confusion between ‘Coalition 2.0’ and ‘Coalition Phase 2’ extends to the national press.

    There was a story in the FT on 17 June 2011 which reported that ‘Coalition 2.0 ‘ (by which the FT meant ‘Coalition Phase 2’) was being quietly dropped (to get round the FT’s paywall in order to read the story, do a Google search for the headline “Coalition 2.0 agreement put on back burner”). The FT report makes it clear that there were divisions within the coalition (which cut across party lines) about the need for a second coalition agreement.

    A few days after the FT story, Bernard Brogan of the Telegraph blogged here:
    …to suggest that ‘Coalition 2.0’ (by which he meant ‘Coalition Phase 2’) was going into hibernation.

    I now understand that ‘Coalition Phase 2’ was eventually killed off without a fanfare last November, and that there will be no second coalition agreement. However, the question remains whether CentreForum’s ‘Coalition 2.0’ is continuing to operate.

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