01st Jun 2010

Cam-Cleg: A 100-Day honeymoon?

Just watched the live Press Conference showcasing the love-in of Britain’s new Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. Clearly both men are in the throes of early love and promise of a new relationship, but will it last? Or to put it more constructively, what should these guys do to ensure that the first 100 days of coalition sets them up for real success to secure the aspiration of 5 years in government. 

A fast start:
Today both men got off to a strong and fast leadership start. They talked about “the national interest” as their shared common goal and the glue which will bind them together as leaders on difficult decisions. By this, they mean that they intend to rise above party politics to always do what is right for the people. This is an inspiring stall to set out, and in the first 100 days we need to see evidence of this in operation. Policies will need to be clear, and not fudged. Pace of decision-making will be important. Decisions will need to be seen as taking twice as fast, and not twice as long.

“One team”:
Reference was made to a commitment to ‘one team’ rather than a coalition of two teams fighting for power. Again, a powerful standard and aspiration to set out. It looks like Cameron and Clegg are absolutely joined together today as ‘one team’ but can this teaming cascade to the cabinet and to the wider groups below or will the far left and far right cause unhelpful dents in the ‘one team’ concept. As leaders in the first 100 days, it will be extremely important that both Cameron and Clegg maintain strong leadership within their own parties on what is and what is not acceptable teaming behaviours. Members of each party will likely break rank now and again, but they will need to be firmly and decisively managed back in line by the leaders if this coalition is to succeed for all concerned.

Early results:
At the end of 100 days, the media and the public will inevitably use this as a milestone to reflect on the success or otherwise of the coalition. So by the end of the first 100 days, Cam-Clegg will need to have delivered real results on the economy and economic policy. Of course the first 100 days on health, on education etc are important too, but these guys need to put the economy first and get some early wins under their joint belt in their first 100 days.

Beyond the first 100 days:
Commentators are giving the coalition 6 months, a year, 2 years but to make it to 5 years, these guys cannot underestimate the importance of the first 100 days for setting up success in the first 12 months and beyond. And so, we wait and see whether at the end of 100 days, will these guys still be in love, or will the honeymoon be over?

Niamh O'Keeffe

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