red_cortina: (Cameronandclegg)
[personal profile] red_cortina
I really enjoyed the BBC's "Five days that changed Britain" last night, a calm and well thought-through documentary about the five days in May between the general election and the formation of the current government. I particularly liked the emphasis on the constitutional requirement for Gordon Brown not to resign until David Cameron had managed to form a government, something he didn't actually do in the end. This was in serious contrast to the shrill press coverage at the time telling him to resign immediately. I've never really understood why Labour's loss of the election has been presented as Brown's "personal failure", even by Brown himself, even though they actually did a lot better than expected - you'd have thought he'd get some credit for that.

Clegg and the Lib Dem negotiating team's somewhat Machiavellian tactics were fascinating, as were the personality issues, with Vince Cable leaning towards Gordon Brown but Clegg leaning towards Cameron: the old guard versus the new. The Conservative negotiating team's willingness to give ground to the Lib Dems, and using the opportunity to get rid of policies they didn't like, was also really interesting, but could potentially cause enormous problems within the party. I get the impression the Cameron team has always been a lot more progressive than the party's grass roots.

Cameron came across well, as he always does in this type of thing. I particularly liked the hurried phone call to his wife Samantha as it became likely that Brown was about to resign: "What are you doing? Well, you'd better get your frock on - we might be going to the palace!"

All in all a great watch - I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in UK politics and access to the iPlayer.
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red_cortina

May 2011

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