Tuesday 5 October 2010

The goodwill won't last without proper rigour

It seems the sense of general goodwill towards the coalition and its attempts to sort out the UK's budget problems are shared by the vast majority of journalists covering the Conservative conference. Some newspapers, such as the Daily Mail, are settled that the coalition is going to survive its full term and are open minded to supporting many policies that will put the country on a sound financial footing.

There is however, a stark word of warning that is being spoken loudly today after the confusion regarding benefit reform. While changes to the benefit system will be welcomed - as other measures to reduce the rate of spending will also be welcomed - proper and thorough scrutiny is going to be applied to every measure announced.

The lesson for the Conservatives is this: get your sums right and apply proper rigour to all policy work in a way never previously imagined. The goodwill cannot last if mistakes are made. Once Labour have got themselves sorted proper scrutiny will be applied to everything the coalition says or does.

Whatever the laudable aim of benefit reform, a little bit of goodwill has been lost today. Once the honeymoon is over mistakes like this cannot be repeated.

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