The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

And So It Begins… Again

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 25, 2010 @ 10:40

Spend it! Spend it like there's no tomorrow!

Today’s Queen’s Speech will give us a much better idea than the coalition document about what the government thinks are the urgent priorities for the nation. The coalition document is a framework for the next five years, but it doesn’t tell us anything about the order of those ideas…

After all, how many times have we seen manifesto plans eventually put on the back burner because they’re too controversial? What if, for example, the Higher Education Review suggests scrapping the top-up fee limit altogether? That would be too much for the Lib Dems to take; and the grassroots would put enormous pressure on the party to do more than merely abstain, as the coalition document says they will.

Events, dear boy. Events.

Many commentators observe that so much emphasis is placed on the legislative programme that it is, in fact, disproportionate to the amount of importance it has.

I disagree with that.

Lots of government activity takes place by ministerial fiat or by statutory instrument. In all honesty, most of this kind of governance takes place regardless of whoever is in power. Minor decisions, and extremely technical ones, are invariably in the hands of the civil service. Ministers didn’t come into politics to piss around with these tedious regulations, and they mostly pass by without comment.

The big changes to this country, on the other hand, can only happen by legislation.

And today we get to see which bits of legislation this government has decided are so important that they must take place this session.

And it’s a long one. Parliamentary sessions usually begin in November. In recent years, they’ve even started in December. This one, however, is starting in May, and won’t end for around 16 months. Plenty of time then to ram through their pet issues.

This is when a new government is at its most potent. Its political capital account is stacked full to the brim. This one especially, being the only government in generations to be able to claim to have more than 50% of the population supporting it. That’s an impressive mandate.

And now is the time to spend it. Never again will the public be so supportive. Never again will party discipline be so tight. Never again will the levers of power be so available to Cameron and Clegg to get their way. It really is downhill all the way from here.

Today we will see just how bold this coalition is going to be.

Unfortunately for me, I’m going to be stuck on a train. Let me know if they’ve got the balls afterwards, won’t you?

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