Navigating Legacy: A Joint Reflection on the Coalition

Insights from the Lib Dem and Conservative Societies

House of Commons

Thomas Worth, a Stage 3 Politics and IR student, tells us all about the recent joint discussion between the Lib Dem and Conservative societies about the legacy of the Coalition.

“In November, the newly formed Liberal Democrat society and the Conservative society joined forces to discuss the legacy of the Coalition Government. This meeting became even more topical with David Cameron being made foreign secretary just two days before the meeting. On the agenda was discussion around constitutional reform, environmental issues, the economy and the electoral impact of the coalition. But, of course, foreign policy came to play a significant role in what we discussed.

A short presentation was delivered by a member of the Conservatives, followed by an open discussion on the issues chosen. There was some robust disagreement on some key areas, especially around foreign aid spending which David Cameron had set to 0.7% of GDP during the Coalition with the Lib Dems supporting its return to this level while many Tories argued for it to be further decreased to help fund key national services. There was also an in detail analysis of David Cameron’s foreign policy achievements with both sides agreeing his legacy on the intervention in Libya and failed vote on intervention in Syria left something to be desired. However, whether his return to government is a positive thing had the room divided again.

Ultimately, we concluded that the legacy of the Coalition is very mixed, with some key successes in areas such as environmental policy and the tax free allowance combined with failures such as the House of Lords reform. For the Lib Dems, the Coalition allowed them to enact policies they had always championed and was their first time in government since the 1920s, while for the Tories, it was the beginning of a long period of government where many argue they were hindered by their Coalition partners. It may have ended poorly for the Lib Dems with near electoral oblivion in the 2015 General Election. Still, we all agreed that both parties should be proud of the stability and the achievements of the Coalition.

The discussion was fun, insightful, and challenged people’s beliefs by forcing them to agree with the other side. Despite being on opposing sides in the political debate, it was genuinely heartwarming to hear people come together and find common ground or disagree agreeably. I highly recommend that anyone wishing to challenge themselves and their beliefs to develop themselves comes along to a joint discussion between our societies.

Yours Sincerely,
Thomas Worth”

Thomas Worth studies BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations.

Take a look at what the political societies are up to:

Lib Dem Society | Conservative Association