Well played Cameron; well played Clegg. The new UK government looks very much like a resounding triumph of pragmatism over idealism, sure. But any realistic 'progressive' should also accept: this is the best possible outcome for the UK left.
– Bear with me.
I realise, there are many people (most of them to the left of the political spectrum) who are disgusted at the outcome of the past few days' wrangling: a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.
But I must say, I can live very well indeed with a government in which the ludicrous Europhobia and regressive family-favouring of the Tories and the gawp-inducing international-market-blindness of the Lib Dems' stance on university tuition fees cancel one another out.
And I'm pretty sure that Cameron and Clegg can live very well indeed with this, too. So I say again: well played, both.
Apparently there has been surprise at the degree to which Clegg has not pursued major concessions on immigration … but perhaps there's no need to do so when Cameron's notion of a cap is so much hokum in any case.
I suspect, in fact, that we've ended up with an alliance (in Cameron and Clegg) of two very pragmatic men – both of whom may secretly be relieved at the opportunity afforded by a coalition government to trim the excesses of their respective parties' more extreme (and foolish) wings.
The real losers of today, it seems to me, are the Tory right wing – who suddenly find the power they'd have wielded in any other plausible electoral outcome massively diluted.
Think about it: once it became clear that the Tories weren't in for a thumping majority, all other options looked more right-wing friendly in the medium- to long-term than the one we've ended up with. A narrow Tory victory would have pandered to the extremes of the party, to whom Cameron would have been forced to make numerous concessions. A Lib-Lab coalition, had one managed to totter out of the stable, would have sent both Tory party and Tory press lurching to the right, empowered by Cameron's failure to secure Number 10 – just in time for a crushing Conservative victory in the inevitable election that would've followed a few months down the line.
So whilst this coalition may, on the face of it, seem a grim thing for left wingers everywhere, I'd argue that it is, in fact, the best neutering of the radical right wing that any progressive might have hoped to achieve, given the circumstances.
Anyone else drinking to that, or is it just me?