The decade began with Labour’s most successful Prime Minister in charge. He was followed by the worst since Ramsay Macdonald. Why was Gordon Brown so keen to get the top job? When he was finally installed in Number Ten, he had no plan.
But the decade will be best remembered politically for the first Coalition Government in most people’s memory. It has been successful in the central aim of turning the economy around but big questions remain about the reform of education and the health service.
The Liberal Democrats have paid the biggest political price from all this. In the North, years of building a considerable political base in our cities was wiped out in the local elections of 2011 and 2012.
The Tories have hardly been damaged at all by their association with the Lib Dems although there is deep unrest among Conservative backbenchers about the link up.
A decade ago the British National Party was gaining ground on councils like Burnley and their leader Nick Griffin was elected a North West MEP. Now anti-immigration voters can support a reassuring Englishman by the name of Nigel Farage rather than the shaven headed thugs of the BNP. UKIP’s rise has been the political story of the decade and at the moment they can claim to be the third party in Britain.