James Forsyth

The coalition must make its case

The coalition must make its case
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The Lib Dems’ week in the sun has started and Nick Clegg has marked the occasion by giving a series of interviews. David has already noted the one in The Independent, but Clegg’s one with The Sun where he talks about playing tennis with Cameron at Chequers and assembling IKEA furniture together is perhaps more revealing of where his heart lies.

But this coalition is going to be made or broken by whether it can persuade the public that dealing with the structural deficit and reforming the four great public services are the right things to do and that the coalition is doing them competently. As Charles Moore says in a magisterial column in the Telegraph today, the coalition needs to explain itself. Too often it is leaving a vacuum that its opponents are filling.

The fear about a potential soverign debt crisis that existed in the early months of the coalition has eased, making it imperative that the coalition repeatedly explains why it is doing what it is doing. It can’t allow the new Labour leader any sort of free run. It is time to engage.