Martin Kettle in the Guardian
…the coalition faces pressing decisions about how to renew itself. And, by coincidence, that is exactly the theme of two thoughtful reports published this week which both draw on continental coalition experience.
As one of these, The Politics of Coalition by Robert Hazell and Ben Yong, of the Constitution Unit, points out, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has gradually slipped from being a government marked by harmony to one characterised by increasing differentiation, especially in parliament. If year three is not to be marked by further partisan démarches and squabbles, and by slipping poll ratings, the government is going to have to grip the political agenda more effectively than it is currently doing.
The second report, with the Sheareresque title A Game of Two Halves, written by Akash Paun for the Institute of Government, is more proactive. It argues for a midterm review and a renewal plan that will carry the parties through to the final year of the parliament, though not for a wholly new coalition programme. Paun wants the coalition to prioritise more, and to copy Sweden’s way of differentiating between core coalition policies which are sacrosanct and others which will be open to more debate and differentiation.