The coalition partners’ relationship has shown some strain over specific issues, such as electoral reform, House of Lords reform, and the Communications Data Bill. Each of these has led to a slight re-calibration of the foundations of government, to the extent that commentators variously believe we are already on Coalition 2.0 or even 3.0.
However, it seems likely that with slight adjustments we are still in for a full year of best-efforts coalition government before the two parties begin the long period of separation. 2013 will still be a year of coalition, even as the policy development goes on behind closed doors.
2014 will see the process of government drift into a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with fewer legislative ambitions. The parties’ increasing search for differentiation will come to a head by the time of the European and London elections, with all three leaders looking to secure some momentum.
By the time of the 2014 party conferences, the election run in will have begun. 2015 will see three parties in full campaign mode.