The Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition, in government since the Conservatives failed to win an outright majority on their own in 2010, was always a marriage of inconvenience. Too many of each party were too far apart in their concepts as to what should be done to make Britain prosperous and content whilst dealing with a country in virtual bankruptcy and in an ever more competitive global environment. What threw the cat amongst the pigeons to make a bad situation worse and rubbish the Treasury's "end of recession" theoretical probability calculations was, and continues to be, the Euro crisis.
With many Lib Dems more to the left than the Labour Opposition, the wonder must be, as the Parliamentary midpoint approaches, that the Coalition has held so well to date. Now, with the euphoria of London 2012's Olympics finally over - which helped to bury July's really horrendous current account figures - and Prime Minister David Cameron's Cabinet reshuffle potentially causing more headaches than problems solved for the senior Coalition partner, it's going to be much harder to keep the divisions within the Coalition and his own backbenchers, out of the media headlines.
Helping to start the pot boiling once more is Mr Vince Cable, Lib Dem MP for Twickenham and Business Secretary in the Coalition Cabinet, and Europe's biggest airport, London Heathrow, which looks like a business Mr Cable is reluctant to promote.
Mr Cable, a one-time Labour councillor who has described himself as "centre-left" is deemed to be too far left and an anti-business Business secretary by many Conservatives. Possibly with this in mind, the very pro-business Conservative MP, Michael Fallon has just been appointed in the Prime Minister's reshuffle as Mr Cables' No 2.
Mr Fallon is determined to push through measures which support growth and cut regulations - he has apparently identified 3,000 for the chop - whilst on the subject of taxing the rich he told the Sunday Telegraph:
"We need to salute that and stop thinking of new ways to tax it (wealth creation). That's an attitude I want to help change.
"We need to get away from the politics of envy in this country and salute those who not only create wealth but risk their own money to create jobs for other people."
Could Mr Fallon be serving in the wrong legislature? Might well be more comfortable in Congress with that sort of talk for he added:
"Above all, I want business to feel it has a strong Conservative champion in the Department."
Fair or unfair, that last comment would indicate that Business sees Mr Cable's appointment as more a political one, there to curb Tory free-market policies and the championing of Lib Dem criteria, rather than to fight for British commerce and industry as such.
The Telegraph's Rosa Prince quoted Mr Cable on BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday confirming that he would be happy to work with Labour's Ed Balls, another guest on the programme, "on issues such as raising taxes frome the better off, including the imposition of a mansion tax on the most expensive properties.
Addressing the balance, however, The Telegraph's Philip Aldrick on 10 September, reported that on Tuesday, Mr Cable will unveil a new industrial strategy that will see the Government pick winners and lay the ground for future growth by investing in skills and technology. Referring again to Mr Cable's interview with Andrew Marr, the Business secretary said:
"There are absolutely key industries - cars, aerospace, life sciences - where we need to think long-term, and that's beyond one parliament, any one government."
Crucial would be government and the private sector working in harmony and instancing the above sectors in particular, Mr Cable continued:
"They are trying to build up their supply chains in the UK, bringing them back. We lost a lot of industry overseas...(And) things like skills development....if we are going to get this country back onto long-term (growth) we need lots more engineers (and) apprentice craftsmen. And this has got to be planned. It's not going to happen spontaneously."
Strangely though, this goodwill and urge for development to acclaim that Britain is open for business and a new entrepreneurial era, does not extend to Britain's largest airport. London Heathrow, where maybe a majority of those seeking to expand our wealth will arrive and depart from in this brave new commercial environment is an exclusion zone where expansion "was not going to happen."
Quite emphatically, the Business Secretary told Andrew Marr how unwelcome such an occurrence would be:
"...there is an absolutely clear coalition commitment not to expand Heathrow."
And just in case the near 76,000 workers employed directly at the world's third busiest airport handling 70 million passengers last year, or the 115,000 indirect jobs in the vicinity were not on message, Mr Cable added:
"There is a very formidable political coalition against it (expansion); my party is totally opposed, Boris Johnson (London Mayor) and the London Conservatives are opposed, the Labour Party (who approved the Third Runway just before the last Election) seems to be moving agains it."
Ah, funny from a Business Secretary eager to promote growth, but then Britain can't be that open for business after all.
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