Politics.co.uk Blog

Monday, 16 August 2010

Cosying up to the coalition

One of the most infuriating aspects of writing about a new government is the sheer foot-dragging reluctance of lobby groups to mouth off against them.

So many organisations prefer to keep on err on the side of caution when it comes to criticising our new rulers - because they know they are going to have to work with them for several years to come.

To the extent that the coalition hasn't yet addressed all of the agenda points in its programme for government just yet, that's fair enough.

But for those where clear proposals are now in the open, what's wrong with a bit of open-ended criticism?

The shift from six months previously makes the trend all the more clear. After 13 years of irritants virtually any organisation was ready to launch into a rant against the iniquities of New Labour's processes.

Now we find ourselves faced with endless off-the-record conversations about the slapdash approach of the coalition - and nothing to put into our articles. There is real concern out there about many of the government's ideas, but very little willingness to openly come out and challenge them.

The result? Ministers get something approaching carte blanche. Only when they try especially ill-thought-out proposals (c.f. academies bill) do they attract slings and arrows of negative press coverage.

This honeymoon period won't last forever, of course. This is the thought which sustains us through the long, long summer months.

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