Dear Dave and Nick, When the deals have been done and the dust finally settles on a truly fascinating General Election, it’s fair to say your new Government will have its work cut out.
I’m assuming here that the bonkers vision of a Labour-led, mathematically-inadequate ‘rainbow coalition’ doesn’t come to pass.
Let’s be frank, despite what some cloud-hugging liberals may think, political marriages of convenience do no-one any favours.
An outright winner would have been far better for the country at this most trying of times but, given the outcome, a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition is perhaps the lesser of several evils.
At least with a reasonable majority your partnership has a chance of steering the Good Ship UK in one direction – rather than having us going round in circles like some demented duck at Westport Lake. (That’s a local reference, my honourable friends).
Despite the fact that, unlike many people, I don’t believe Vince Cable to be some kind of all-knowing, economic Yoda figure, given that the Tory front bench is inexperienced and unproven I’d like to see you using the coalition talent pool to best effect – with a few senior Lib Dems taking ministerial posts.
For me, stability of leadership is key right now.
What we definitely don’t want is another General Election in six months’ time creating a political merry-go-round where nowt gets done while our economy stagnates and the money markets go into freefall.
Now that we have prised Gordon Brown’s fingernails out of the leather sofa and dragged the sore loser kicking and screaming out of Number 10, the real work can begin in earnest.
There’s no getting away from the fact that we’ve all got to tighten out belts.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news to my colleagues in the public sector but they are facing a pay freeze. (Many of us in the private sector have had one in place for two years already so hopefully they won’t react with too much melodrama).
Up until now those working in the private sector have borne the brunt of job losses during the current economic downturn.
However, to give us a fighting chance of tackling our national debt crisis, there will also doubtless have to be significant job cuts in the public sector – given the huge burden it places on all of us.
I don’t see this as an option – it’s a necessity – because we’ve all seen, heard and read about the waste, the quangos, the non-jobs and the army of bureaucrats currently leeching away at the taxpayer.
The unions won’t like any of this and there’s a distinct possibility of industrial unrest on a scale not seen for decades – against which your new Government must stand firm.
This, I suppose, will be the acid test for the ‘new kind of politics’ we’ve heard so much about in recent weeks – where all parties have pledged to do what’s best for the country.
Labour will have a key role to play here, of course. The party of the unions can either work with your Government by instituting important checks and balances on policies – or it can revert to the kind of peevish point-scoring we normally see from the opposition front benches in the House of Commons.
(You’re all as bad as one another for that, I’m afraid).
Whatever happens with the economy, your Government must not lose sight of the fact that as we gnash our teeth and fall out over domestic policies UK service personnel are still fighting and dying overseas.
Having been in Wootton Bassett on Friday to witness the repatriation of Lance Corporal Barry Buxton, from our neck of the woods, I feel more strongly than ever that we need to do more, as a nation, to support our servicemen and women.
Let’s pay them a decent wage, equip them properly, look after them when they return home and give them the respect they are due for doing a job most of us can barely comprehend.
By the same token, while I don’t believe we should pull the troops out of Afghanistan tomorrow, I’d like to think that sooner rather than later your Government had formulated an exit strategy to bring our boys and girls home.
Good luck with all that, gents. Something tells me you’re going to need it.