A study carried out by the Constitution Unit has revealed statistical evidence of the ineffectiveness of the Coalition.
The study involved interviews with over 60 main fogures in Whitehall, and has revealed that instead of cticial decisions being made by the Coalition government through the formal Coalition technology put into place when the government was set up, most decisions are made instead through more informal conduits. Regular evening phone calls between Nick Clegg and David Cameron in which policy decisions are made, is just one example.
The deputy prime ministers office has proven to be of little consequence, with Liberal Democrat officers spread too sparsely.
The Constitution Unit have said that, “The deputy PM’s office has not established recognisable priorities for the Lib Dems; Lib Dem junior ministers struggle to play the cross-departmental role envisaged for them; special advisers do little to help, because (outside Cabinet office and No 10) they do not have the confidence or experience to operate as coalition brokers.”
Acording to the report, the Lib Dems are “still reeling from the loss of their state funding, given only to opposition parties. This has led to the loss of many of their staff. It may help explain their under-powered performance, particularly with the media”. The report also suggests that by “going for breadth over depth, and seeking to place a minister in every department”, the Liberal Democrats have spaced themselves “too thinly”.
In their desire to have influence over every aspect of government policy, the Liberal Democrats have lost focus and failed to make obvious to the public that they are in command of any policies at all, suggests the report. Liberal Democrat ministers “lack the capacity to monitor policy across a whole department”.
The report also proposes that that there are high levels of trust between the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, which have only further added to the difficulties faced by the Liberal Democrats in making their influence visible to the public.