Fraser Nelson is spot on. No matter what is given up in the negotiations between the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats, Michael Gove’s school reforms are too important to be subject to political compromise. Fraser Nelson has championed this policy for a while now. In fact, for a good introduction to what is at stake, take a look at this excellent article in from 2008.
There are going to be tough times ahead. Needs must when the devil drives; there is no getting around the fact that there are going to be substantial cuts in government expenditure. The Conservative Party, with or without the Lib Dems, are going to have to play the villains. This is of course familiar territory, they had to pick up the pieces when the Labour Party last drove the country into the ground. Thatcher managed to (re)empower people through various means, most notably through offering the ‘right-to-buy’ for council tenants, but as with all governments, the momentum of reform slowed down and she had a penchant for centralising power, that was being abused, without dispersing it back to the people. In consequence, the Conservative Party have been caricatured as a party only of slash and burn.
Forced once again to sort out the mess left by Labour's mismanagement and profligacy, if the Conservative Party is to avoid being tarred with the same brush they need, unlike Thatcher, to also offer an alternative contemporaneous narrative. Rhetorical guff like ‘the big society’ just won’t cut the mustard. School reform could and should form the key-stone of this narrative. Assuming it is done properly, Sweden’s success can be replicated in the UK. They will also need to be radical on health, welfare and pension reforms. In all cases, they should allow taxpayers more choice and focus any exemptions/ welfare/ top-ups/ exemptions at only the most vulnerable.