Tag Archives: david laws

Review: Coalition, by David Laws

Coalition: The Inside Story of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government (Biteback; £25)

David Laws CoalitionIf journalistic reportage is the first rough draft of history, then the politicians’ memoir has a good claim to be the second — at least as far as contemporary political history is concerned.

Few are better placed to give the inside account of the UK’s first national coalition in living memory than David Laws. Laws was at the heart of the coalition before it had even been conceived, as part of a small Lib Dem team preparing for a hung parliament, and was then one of four Liberal Democrats to make up the party’s negotiating team when possibility became a reality in May 2010. From thereon in he bore witness to every significant decision made over the next five years, even though two of those years were ostensibly spent on the backbenches.

Laws has two other advantages, too. The first is the intelligence and insight that has earned him respect across the Lib Dem party — even from those with whom he often disagrees — and beyond. The second is his proximity to Nick Clegg, who allowed Laws access to his papers from his time as deputy prime minister in the preparation of this book.

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In conversation with David Laws

The former Liberal Democrat MP and government minister discusses his new book about the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, says what he would do differently in hindsight, and looks into his crystal ball to see what the future holds for the party…

Your new book about the Coalition has certainly made a few waves following its Sunday newspaper serialisation – the right kind of waves?

I think inevitably there is a temptation in the press to shed light on things which are currently topical, such as Tory divisions on the referendum. But the primary reason I wrote the book was to give an accurate, historic account of the Coalition and a proper explanation of our part in it – and if the serialisation results in more people reading the book, so much the better.

It sounds like you’re, by and large, proud of what the Lib Dems achieved in government?

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A surprising gap in David Laws’ knowledge

Last night, Biteback Publishing held a party to celebrate the launch of David Laws’ book, Coalition.

The Times (£) has an amusing anecdote from the event:

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What Cameron and Osborne said about Vince Cable’s proposals on corporate transparency

Given this week’s coverage of the so-called Panama Papers — the cache of 11.5m confidential files from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — this week, it was interesting to come across this account in David Laws’s book, Coalition, from a meeting in 2013:

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Ethnic minority pupils outclass white British pupils

 

There are some interesting nuggets of information in CentreForum’s Annual Report on Education which was published today.  Amongst other things, it identifies a north/south divide in attainment at secondary school and notes that there is still a significant gap between the achievements of disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

I am particularly pleased to see how well London pupils are doing. It wasn’t that long ago that London secondary schools were seen as failures. The London Challenge was an ambitious programme set up in 2003 to combat this and as a result some inner London local authorities went from being amongst the worst performing to the best performing nationally.

But the finding that has been picked up by the media relates to the performance of white British children. It seems that when they start school these children are ahead of their fellow pupils, but by the time they reach 16 they are well below average compared with other ethnic groups.

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David Laws’s ‘Coalition’ – the coverage

David Laws CoalitionDavid Laws’s account of his and our party’s time in government, Coalition, was published earlier this week by Biteback, having been serialised in the Mail on Sunday.

Keep an eye out for a review here on LDV soon, but in the meantime here’s a round-up of what others have been saying.

The BBC have put together this film featuring former Lib Dem advisers Polly Mackenzie and Phil Reilly, and David was on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

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David Laws on Marr: I want to expose how NHS chief was leant on to encourage debate on NHS funding

It’s the second week of David Laws’ coalition revelations serialised in the Mail on Sunday. This week we have him telling us that:

To take them in turn:

You have to wonder why we bought and publicised the £8bn figure, too. It’s all very well for David Laws to tell Andrew Marr today that Norman Lamb was always sceptical about it, but I seem to recalls making a massive thing about how we were the only party who was going to meet the £8bn request in full. If we knew that the figure was nonsense then, why on earth did we not say loudly and lay out the choices that the nation faced in a much more realistic way?

On Marr, David Laws emphasised how the Lib Dems helped IDS veto Treasury requests for further welfare cuts, confirming that Osborne saw it as a cash cow.There are problems with this analysis, though.  Danny Alexander seemed to be hand in glove with Osborne on a lot of this stuff, at one point calling people affected by the Bedroom Tax “bedroom blockers.” Also, a lot of the really awful ideas, from the rape clause to the capping at two children were IDS’s idea.

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