Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mixed emotions as Cameron enters Downing Street

In 1997 when Tony Blair entered Downing Street when the country was erupting in a chorus of "Ding Dong the Wicked Tories are gone" I lay in bed watching him and I felt nothing. Not one thing. I was numb. I just didn't trust him one little bit and something inside kind of knew he'd let the country down. Even I didn't predict the awfulness that followed, the illegal invasion of Iraq, complicity in torture, the vernacular of the war on terror and the accompanying assaults on civil liberties - control orders and 42 days' detention.

The last few days have been quite emotional for me, what with the ending of Team Rennie in Dunfermline an'all. I'm ok most of the time, but then I'll look at Willie's Facebook wall and be set off again by the kindness people have shown him.

So, I'm feeling quite fragile anyway, and then Gordon Brown comes out of Downing Street and shows the whole country a very human and graceful side to him that many of us knew was there but which we rarely saw when he was in office. Poor Sarah looked drawn and tired. Then for the first and last time, they left Downing Street with their boys, the whole family together. Yeah, that got me going again. For all the shambolic nature of his Government, he is a very good man and I'll be raising a glass of red to him tonight.

Then we saw Cameron emerge from Buckingham Palace. When he came out a snapper asked him if he could wave, addressing him as "Prime Minister". That made me shudder, I have to be honest.

A while later, David and Samantha arrived in Downing Street. In contrast to my numbness of 13 years ago, I had the weirdest mixture of horror and excitement. Horror because the Tories were back, tempered by the knowledge that it looked like there were going to be Liberal Democrats with him.

In fact, the range of emotion I feel at that is immense - fear, pride, apprehension, hope, not quite knowing whether I should be saying Yikes or Yippee.

When Nick Clegg first appeared in that interview room as an applicant to be a Euro candidate in Leicester 12 years ago, we all knew that one day he would be party leader. He blew us all away. What we didn't expect was that he might be in the position to take the Liberal Democrats into Government.

As I write, a very tight lipped David Laws has just gone into the Federal Executive meeting. He looked like he was really petrified. He's probably just tired, but it does at least appear that he has at the very least a healthy respect for the powerhouse committee of the party. He talked about policy issues but no details, not commenting on any of the rumours that had abounded in the previous few hours.

When Cameron entered Number 10, he spoke of how he and Nick Clegg had decided to put aside their political differences and make a Government based on freedom, fairness and responsibility for the good of the country.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating but for the moment I want to let my daughter Anna have the last word. She's been gripped by this hung parliament meeting, to the point where she was asking me about the differences between AV and STV over breakfast this morning. Her comment when she watched Cameron go into Downing Street was "I know Tories are evil, but let's give David Cameron a chance."

He had better not let my baby down.

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