So congratulations to David Cameron and Nick Clegg. And good luck to them – there might be a certain grim political satisfaction for me if they were a disaster, but many millions of people rely on government being done well, and they deserve better than anticipatory schadenfreude.
Commiserations, of course, to Gordon Brown and the rest of the Labour party, but also congratulations on avoiding the electoral meltdown that seemed so overwhelmingly likely for most of the past two years. The outgoing government leaves some rotten mistakes behind, but also some bloody good successes. As Cameron rightly and graciously said, “this country is more open at home and more compassionate abroad and that is something we should all be grateful for”.
Nobody has been more of a driving force than Gordon – although Tony Blair also deserves a lot of praise here – in the fight against poverty, here and abroad. It’s a measure of this achievement that the Tories feel obliged to ask us to judge their progress on the same counts. We will.
What’s more, Gordon and Alastair Darling were absolutely the right men in the right place at the right time when the financial crisis hit. Their response was far from perfect, but it was good enough – which is more than can be said for Bush and Paulson, or for Cameron and Osborne. When it really counted, Brown was a far better Prime Minister than he was a party leader.
And if I had two such stunningly adorable kids, I’d have the same priorities as him:
As I leave the second most important job I could ever hold, I cherish even more the first – as a husband and father. Thank you and goodbye.