Two must read books and here's why!
Posted 24 Nov 2010 by Walaa Idris
Last night Portcullis House was the stage for a Total Politics event chaired by their editor Ben Duckworth who did a brilliant job interviewing former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, LibDem MP David Laws and the author of 22Days in May and Tory MP Rob Wilson author of 5 Days to Power.
David Laws’ book covered his time as a member of the Liberal Democrats negotiating team during the five days after the General Election and his short time in the Treasury, but the conversation was mainly about what went on during those historic five days that griped our nation. On the other hand, Rob Wilson’s book is a detailed account of what was going on behind the scenes and the mechanics that took place to reach the now Coalition Government.
Many of the things “us” the observing public suspected and sensed were happening during that time were conformed. Things like Tories and LibDems were more prepared, ready, welling and able to negotiate what’s best for the country coherently, while Labour did just the opposite and had almost a nonchalant attitude towards the whole proceedings and rumours such as Labour’s negotiating team either turned up to meetings unprepared or uninterested were all touched on during the conversation.
But I was mostly struck by the LibDems’ anticipation of winning 85 seats and their surprise at not achieving it! Because throughout their negotiations process they appeared to be a savvy always ready bunch, the possibility of them winning 85 seats might have been a correct prediction after the first leaders’ debate, the ITV debate, but that wasn’t the case by the third debate. By the time the Sky debate came around it was clear the Cleggmania bubble has burst and although Clegg was seen as the Kingmaker it wasn’t because the LibDems had almost a 100 seats, but because none of the other two parties were on route to winning out right and go it alone.
The second thing that caught my attention is George Osborne – during intense situations and under high pressure, Osborne always seemed to be the one who calmly and assertively saw what everybody else missed in their excitement or due the strain of the situation – he is most definitely one to watch!
Finally the big question, why did Labour act the way they did; the short and simple answer they were tiered and needed a break. But the real answer; Labour knew they can not move one step forward with Brown as their leader. They wanted rid of him and the best and kindest way was to lose. That’s why they fudged the negotiations and wasted no time putting together a leadership contest immediately after the election then settled into opposition. Labour wanted out during these hard times, when they knew the cuts will be tough and whoever is in power will be disliked for them and possibly even penalised for them later.
But the question still remains, did they elect the right leader, the leader they saw winning the next election for them – most Labourites I speak with either wanted David Miliband or Ed Balls I have yet to meet a Red Ed supporter!
The night was full of great quotes and lovely political anecdotes. From the Tory side, Oliver Letwin has been tasked with going through the Lib Dem manifesto with a tooth-comb – my favourite quote of the night was Laws’ saying; “during the negations we felt he (Letwin) knew our polices even better than we did!” As only Letwin will!
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