Occasionally, I say something that seems to me so blindingly obvious that I cannot fully understand when someone takes exception to it. But that's what seems to have happened in respect of an opinion I've expressed about the future relationship between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. I was invited to discuss this issue with Tim Mongomerie on Radio Wales' Sunday Supplement this morning. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to develop our thoughts. So I'll do it now.
Firstly, the background. At last May's General Election, the Conservative Party won more seats than any other, but not an overall majority. As soon as the votes were counted, I assumed that David Cameron would become Prime Minister. Initially, I thought he would lead a 'minority' government. When it became clear that the Lib Dems wanted the full works, I was thrilled to bits. We were heading into exciting, uncharted waters, a great time to be an MP. I accepted that the only way for such a coalition to have any chance of working was for both parties to enter into a 'marriage-like' commitment to each other. And that's how I see it. I look on the 3 Welsh Lib Dem MPs (for my main interest is Wales) as close and trusted colleagues.
So how has it turned out. I judge the Coalition to be working at least as well as we could have expected. I hope it continues to do so. It's important to the national interest. It's been particularly tough for the Lib Dems, but they have shown an impressive determination to 'get real' about 'governmnet'. They deserve and receive my respect.
Where do we go from here. Now, I have no idea what will happen as we approach the end of this Parliament in 2015. No-one knows with any certainty. An interesting topic of discussion (and its not much more than that) is what will happen in 4 years time. Let's assume that all has gone well, the economic mess left by Labour has been cleared up - and some progress has been made on low pay, poverty, fairness, UK sovereignty, crime, localism, civil liberty and environmental sustainability. There may even be scope for tax reductions as we go into the next General Election. How do we manage the process of ending the Coalition to fight the General Election. There will surely not be much scope for criticising each other's record in government, and limited scope for distinctiveness in how we go forward, because we will have taken so many decisions covering part of the next Parliament. I would hope that every Conservative and Lib Dem can envisage this level of success.
Now to where I seem to be thinking controversially. I can see that any sort of 'coupon' election is highly unlikely. But I can envisage a position where there will be 'tactical voting' amongst party supporters. I can envisage supporters switching to the coalition party with the best chance of winning. I can envisage those with responsibility for preparing the manifestos of both parties trying to ensure that there are not too many 'red lines' included - making negotiating a second coalition easier. This seems to be common sense to me. In the 8 months since I've been elected, I've learned that it is unwise to rule anything out. This is one reason why I feel so fortunate to be an MP at this time.