London The Daily Telegraph, London, on Britain’s new government (May 12):
With considerable grace and dignity, Gordon Brown brought 13 years of Labour rule to an end. Five full days after the polls closed in the 2010 general election, the country finally has a new government. The forging of a governing coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has ended one of the most unsettling episodes in modern political history. At a time of the gravest economic crisis, the country was crying out for a stable government with a credible plan for tackling the deficit.
With David Cameron as prime minister and the newly minted coalition commanding a comfortable majority in the House of Commons, that is — finally — what it has got. Cameron made no attempt to underplay the task confronting the new administration as he arrived in Downing Street — the deficit, a fractured society and a political system that has forfeited public trust. Yet, as he did throughout the election campaign, the prime minister struck a strong note of optimism, a commodity that will be sorely needed in the weeks and months ahead. ...
At last, we have clarity. Brown has departed the scene, unlamented even by many of his own MPs. His last-gasp attempt to concoct a deal that would have kept him in No. 10 for months and Labour in power for years, despite being the biggest losers, was shockingly cynical. It affronted many in his own party and it is to the great credit of Andy Burnham, the former health secretary, that he broke ranks to speak out against the attempted coup. Credit should also go to the former home secretaries John Reid and David Blunkett, whose trenchant denunciation of the attempted stitch-up effectively killed it. The future is Cameron’s.
The struggle he has had to get into Downing Street — not just over the past few days but over the past four years — will be as nothing compared to what awaits him. The country faces an age of austerity which will throw up the most testing challenges. Our new prime minister enters into the toughest political inheritance in recent times. We will soon find out his true mettle.
On the Net: http://www.telegraph.co.uk