Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Real Change?

Before the election there was much comment that the Tories, would bring real change, and that anyone who questioned otherwise would be 'educated' differently.

But then after the election:

David Cameron used the coalition talks with Nick Clegg as an excuse to ditch ‘daft’ Tory policies he secretly wanted to get rid of all along - such as scrapping inheritance tax and getting rid of his pledge to rip up the Human Rights Act, it was claimed last night.

The leader of Mr Clegg’s negotiating team, new Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander, said his Conservative counterparts, led by William Hague and George Osborne, produced a list of Mr Cameron’s manifesto pledges and invited the Lib Dems to strike them out.

And Mr Cameron’s controversial policy guru Steve Hilton was reportedly delighted that the coalition had enabled Mr Cameron to ‘bury the Tory Right-wing’.

More than half of councils are continuing to impose fortnightly bin collections, despite Conservative pledges to crack down on Labour’s ‘bin bullies’.

The result of EU Law.


The European Union will vet the Chancellor's Budget before it is debated by MPs in the House of Commons or seen by the public, under plans agreed last night.


The UK's coalition government has confirmed that it will seek a partial privatisation of Royal Mail.

In its latest coalition agreement document, the government said it would seek "an injection of private capital" in Royal Mail.

The result of EU Law.


We believe that membership of the EU is in the national interest of the United Kingdom. We intend to champion vigorously the interests of the UK and play an active role within the EU on areas of common interest.


The parliamentary expenses regime was in turmoil last night after the head of the watchdog said MPs had been abusing his staff.


Ed Balls has been compared to maverick right-wing MP Enoch Powell after calling for immigration to be drastically restricted.

The Labour leadership candidate caused controversy by insisting that free movement across the European Union should be stopped.

He also accused former boss Gordon Brown of making a 'mistake' by ignoring concerns over immigration policy.

But Education Secretary Michael Gove said Mr Balls had managed to 'outflank' the Tory leader to the right on both immigration and Euroscepticism, ' something not done since Enoch Powell was in this House'.

And finally today, from Douglas Carswell MP:

The last Parliament – or the rotten Parliament, as it is known – proved that there is much wrong with Westminster.

As a legislature the Commons has grown monumentally useless – supine, spineless and run for the convenience of the executive. The so-called Wright reforms were supposed to help instill a bit of backbone into it.

Key was giving MPs, not the government, more control over the Commons agenda, and a new system of private ballots to allow MPs to decide who sits on the various Commons committees.

This may all sound very dull and SW1, but it could have a profound effect on the way our politicians behave. Instead of getting ahead by sucking up to whips, MPs would find it in their interests to do what elected representatives are supposed to do, and hold government to account.

Naturally, the whips don’t exactly like it. If MPs weren't mere cheerleaders for their frontbenches, they might actually start to scrutinise ministers.

Are we today seeing the first attempts at watering down some of the reformist arrangements only just put in place?

First of all, the dark side wants the Business Committee chairman in place for just a year – rather than a full Parliament, as with all other committees. I can only suppose that this is to make them more vulnerable to whips' pressure.

Second, out of nowhere has come a proposal to dilute the membership of key committees expand the number of MPs on the committee. Since when should Commons committees be organised for the convenience of the executive?

The votes on all this tonight are free votes. Hummm…. I wonder which way the pay roll will be advised is "helpful" to vote in this "free" vote.

I know I've reiterated some points from my previous posts in the last couple of days, but it's worth noting that the continuation is not bad after less than six weeks in office.

I can't tell the difference from the previous government, can you?

Update: Just seen this press release from the Council of the EU regarding the EU Citizens Initiative. It reminds me of this promise from Cameron early this year:

"David Cameron today just unveiled plans to ensure that any petition of 100,000 people would be eligible for debate in Parliament. Any petition with 1 million signatures would result in a bill being tabled in Parliament."

Where is it? Surely not a promise broken?

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