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The New Man of 10 Downing Street
Now that the Tories and the Liberal Democrats form a coalition government , and taking over the Parliament from the thirteen-year rule of the Labour Party, how did Prime Minister David Cameron become the new face of British politics?

[A Column by Emil Angelo C. Martinez]


Ever since David Cameron took over the Tory leadership in 2005, his party played a crucial role as Opposition, as the Labour Party ruled the hollowed halls of the Parliament. And that, thanks to Cameron himself. But this was not just the common kind of party opposition, as it may be the usual party competition aiming for political power. Cameron did play this kind of game. He wanted the power back that once belonged to the Tory. But Cameron was exclusively no political nut. He was after all one of UK’s eloquent and charismatic statesman.
          Educated at Eton and Oxford, Cameron’s youthful rise in political spotlight was both surprising and impressive. Not since Churchill rallied his party to power by both predicting and winning the war with Germany and the old Sir Winston becoming the Conservatives’ new face that the young Cameron become the Tory brand. Margaret Thatcher has Thatcherism, David Cameron has the Camerons. To say it, the Conservative MPs to rule the government this time are themselves Camerons. Being the youngest Prime Minister for the last 200 years, I’m sure the Conservatives under Cameron deserved where they are right now. And Cameron deserved it than anybody else.
          But with a new face in Downing Street, there comes a new political environment. The significance of the coalition is how will the system work, now that for thirty years Britain hasn’t experience this kind of government. How will Cameron work with the Liberal Democrats? What will he offer them? What will Clegg offer back? How will Cameron deal with the rise of smaller parties?
          On the first issue of working with the Liberal Democrats, consistent discipline and cooperation are important, much more necessary. At present, there have been appointments already. The Chancellor of Exchequer is a Conservative. The one replacing David Miliband as Foreign Secretary is a Liberal Democrat. Would the levelling up of MPs and Cabinet members in a diverse approach be better for the government? Certainly this is a result of the negotiations between the Tory and the Liberal Democrats. Clegg would disagree if his party members are still in the minority in most government posts.
          The bigger case both Clegg and Cameron must have understood already is compromise. Does this reflect both Cameron’s and Clegg’s political persona? For Clegg, most probably the decisions made by his party have been expressions of compromise already, as apparent as it may be by settling with the Conservatives. And the choice of leaving at hand a hung parliament with a minority government to take over maybe dangerous for the Liberal Democrats. Like in the last hung parliament in 1974 without a coalition formed, the minority government was short-lived, forcing to hold again another election. I would think the 1947 crisis was a bad choice if either Clegg or Cameron or even Brown had had considered. Thankfully, the decisions made were better. And that thanks to Clegg. But in the bigger picture, the Liberal Democrats really had the least to compromise. Cameron and his party had the biggest stake of compromise. For several years in fighting with the Labour, Cameron and the rest of the Conservative Party had enough of the system, and the demand for a Conservative party is imminent. But with the results of the elections, it seemed that Cameron has to deal with what the Liberal Democrats’ policy demands. This new government is after all not a purely Cameronian creation. But then again, this is what really impresses me about Cameron. The value of a pragmatic approach for the purpose of creating a stable and solid government is very heroic. And for sure, the choices left for Cameron are both hard and necessary. Is it in the character of Cameron to compromise?
          He has no choice, nor his party nor Clegg. And really, the result of the elections spelled the outcome of the formation of the coalition. With key issues such as economic recovery, education and political and electoral reform, Cameron as the new Prime Minister is in the crossroads of odds so hard to handle. Talk about the first issue: economy. How did Clegg and Cameron pull it off? Cameron was against transforming pounds to euro. I might say Clegg had agreed on this. I think this choice (and also by the former PM) is rather close enough to save them from further economic damage, considering the Greek economic tragedy that is haunting EU right now. In essence, all three were almost providing the same measures for a positive effect in the British economy. Now, talk about political and electoral reform. This I think is an easy issue for Cameron himself. In the past, Cameron has expressed (but less sentimental or vocal) political reform, but the same centuries-old electoral system that brought him to the Prime Ministerial position might as well is a question whether he would consider the Liberal Democrats’s primary demand for political and electoral reform. On education, Cameron settled on Clegg’s pupil premium. How about in international relations? Cameron seems very open and diplomatic in issues that best serve his country and the rest of the world. With the immense relations between US and UK during the Labour years under Blair and Brown, Cameron might do the same thing as well. Number 10 has a new guy, and Britain must expect something from he himself, Prime Minister David Cameron. 


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