Today’s Cameron-Clegg event was meant to be very different from
the one in the Downing Street garden two years ago: grittier, more real. Watching it, one was struck by the fact that the two leaders still seem comfortable in each other’s company. The
dynamics between them are better than those between Blair and Brown two years in. But, thanks to the compromises of coalition, they lack a compelling growth message for the here and now — as
opposed to the long term — at the moment.
One of their other problems is that coalition makes everyone focus that much more on the political process. The ears of every journalist pricked up when Cameron said that Lords reform was a
perfectly sensible thing for the Commons ‘to consider’; which rather suggests that the Lords will survive this attempt at reform as it has every other one for the past 100 years.
Ultimately, though, as even those in Downing Street recognise, today’s re-launch won’t dominate the headlines for long. Everyone suspects that the appearances of Andy Coulson and
Rebekah Brooks at Leveson later this week will end up crowding out the message of both today and the Queen’s speech.