ith the resignation of Chief Secretary to Treasury David Laws, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s premature coalition government is caught in an expense row that dealt the death blow for his predecessor David Brown and his Labour government.
Laws, hailed as the most efficient minister in the coalition government, belongs to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrat party which has muttered “change” in its every single breath during the heated election campaigns and tele-debates. So where is the change that the Lib Dems promised and the stern actions that the Conservatives vowed to bring in economy?
So sad, blame it on Laws who made Con-Dem partners David Cameron and Nick Clegg end their honeymoon abruptly. But an undercurrent of Conservatives becoming liberal in their functioning is very much in the air. We have to wait and judge whether that is to save the face of the coalition or to reaffirm that nothing is wrong with the coalition.
With just 18 days in power, if a decision taken inside the Debt Office of the coalition government is leaked, it says Cameron and his allies are under scanner. If the Labour party’s image was lost in expenses row, here the coalition has to deal an extra burden of its tainted minister’s revealation as a homosexual person.
Britain is an open society and so even an average Brit may not find fault with the minister’s sexuality. But, Laws himself was ashamed to reveal his sexuality rather than the “aid” he has offered to his partner. And if he had revealed his secrecy to mentors Clegg and Cameron, he would have kept the scandal under wraps for Cameron is very particular about protecting citizen’s private lives..
His first legislative decision to scrap the National ID card system is aimed to protect civil liberties. Now, his own member has lost his privacy giving a big blow to the very conservative nature and policy of his party.
Laws who was entrusted with Cameron’s cut-deficit programme, himself violated the agenda. So if Daily Telegraph or any other daily comes up with more such revelations, it will be sleepless nights for Cameron and Clegg. Interestingly, the prime minister did not forget to offer his moral support to the man-in-row, showing the Liberal side of a Conservative party.
After receiving the resignation of Laws, Cameron wrote to him, “You are a good and honourable man. I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy than anything else.”
Let us see what Clegg has to say. The Lib Dem leader said: “I very much hope that when those questions are answered there will be an opportunity for him to rejoin the government because, as everyone has seen in recent weeks, he has so much to contribute to national life. When all is said and done, this has come about because of David’s intense desire to keep his own private life private. His privacy has now been cruelly shattered.”
It isn’t difficult to see anguished Cameron and Clegg trying to shield the minister and 18-day old government. A government promising transparency in governance, protecting a wrong deed of its own minister is indeed a big hypocrisy. They are just diminishing the hopes of millions of voters who voted them to power with high expectations.
Though not much was heard from the Labour side, according to BBC reports, Labour MP Stephen Pound has said that Laws explanation of keeping his private life a secret made no sense.
With this row, the voters too might have arrived in a conclusion. They might have realised, Labour or Tories or Lib Dems; all are just the same. Unlike coalition government in countries like India, where ditching a partner in power comes at no time of a controversy, the present UK coalition will not do such blunders.
If Cameron has to cling to power, he needs Clegg party’s support. In the 650-member parliament, Tories emerged the biggest party with 307 seats, but fell short of absolute majority (326). As the Labour was no way near the Tories (258), the Lib Dems (57) decided to move with Tories. Though the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition seemed like two incomparable components, it worked and now it was hit by one of the members of Lib Dem partner.
It is too early to say what damage Laws has done to the coalition and how the coalition is going to work after this unexpected controversy. From the election campaigning to tele debates and even after the election results were announced, Clegg was very much interested in tying his bond with Cameron than Brown. He was cocksure from the beginning that it was Cameron whom he has to make a deal with, if the Lib Dems should have a say in the country’s decision making process.
Whatever reforms Cameron is planning to bring in the British society; either in economic or in social front; he is now sitting on a mount of volcano of handling government officials misusing tax payers’ money quite similar to the previous Labour government. Who knows not, across the world, politicians depend on tax payers’ money for their individual extravaganza?