Serious cracks were visible between the two parties for the first time since the European crisis last autumn.
|Populist view of Clegg and Cameron|
For Coalition unity you have to look to the top.
Through the storms and disagreements and petty squabbles between the two groups the leaders have stayed (mostly) united. Both have been criticised by Labour, the press and their own parties for the closeness and it is something both have felt the need to play down in interviews.
Both leaders have to provide a united front which of course can only be done to a point as obviously there are quite a few differences between our parties - y'know in case you hadn't notices.
So what can we agree on? Railways, they're all in need of work and upgrading, its good for commuters, they're good for the environment (compared to domestic flights) and its good for British business with construction of trains and lines.
Monday, they stood together in Birmingham and affirmed their commitment to each other and to sorting out the nation with this new project. Like a married couple who have drifted apart and affirmed the need to sort things out by Going out more often together without the squabbling kids.
To quote Andrew Grice's article (Cameron and Clegg try to revive faltering Coalition I p.9 17/7/12)
The prime Minister argued that the deeper than expected economic gloom made their partnership more valid and said he was "even more committed" to it than when it was launched. He insisted it had "real purpose, a real mission".
Mr Clegg played down the Lords row as one of the "bumps in the road" to be expected.
I think it would be fair to say that it was more than a bump and both men are well aware of that - this is indeed a papering over the cracks manoeuvre.
At the same time a report is due in a couple of months to look at how many of the 430 pledges have been honoured (200)/in progress (120)/ dropped and there may be plans for Coalition 2.0 a new agreement with a raft of new policies for the second half of the term.
This seems like a natural move as things change and the original agreement may not be relevant in 2015 so it should be a good thing to re-evaluate how things are going and what needs to be re prioritised.
Yes, there are strains between the two parties, nothing that can't be worked through but I'm not going to lie, the next two years are going to be an interesting challenge.