It is now one year since the coalition was formed. Twelve months have flown by but so much has happened. The scene of David Cameron and Nick Clegg standing in the rose garden like life-long friends seems an eon ago. The Conservative and Lib Dem parliamentary parties and their rank-and-file are certainly not as close as the two party leaders. In this May issue we speak to the embattled health secretary Andrew Lansley. He is one of the great survivors of modern Conservative politics. Now, he is finding that his reform programme is in deep trouble. It has been over six years in the making and, yet, so much went wrong with the justification and selling of the reforms. When Caroline Crampton and I spoke with Lansley he looked tired but still determined that the principle of his reforms would remain intact. The interview ended, as you will read on p38, with Lansley almost jogging out of the room with barely a goodbye flung over his shoulder. It was, apparently, because he needed to be in Parliament for a vote. His reforms are not moving nearly as quickly. Depending on what happens to these reforms and the man leading them, the post-mortem by the government will be intensive. How did such wide-ranging reform, conducted at such speed and signed off by both the prime minister and deputy prime minister, come off the rails in such a spectacular fashion?
It is also the story of a cabinet minister, widely accepted by allies and opponents as an expert in his field, lacking the ability to communicate the biggest idea of his career. I would like to finish by talking about Sir Simon Milton, the Mayor of London’s deputy who sadly passed away in April. He was a member of the Total Politics advisory panel and always had helpful advice and kind words to contribute. The tributes that came in following his death show the huge regard and affection in which he was held.
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ISSN 1757 - 0492
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On the Cover Sadiq Khan photographed exclusively for Total Politics by Emma Innocenti on 1 April 2011 in Tooting, London.