Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Perhaps the first glimmer of spring was in the air last weekend. The snowdrops have come and gone, and now the daffodils are spreading their robust display throughout our fields and hedgerows. It won't be long before the trees exhibit the faint green tinge that heralds greater glory. We have a lot to look forward to.
Seasons are important. If the landscape and weather were all the same all year round, think how dull life would be. What would we all talk about? Contrast is a very necessary thing. The weekends are great because we have been working during the week; we seem to need something to look forward to, something different, to keep us fresh and alive.
Political seasons are not much different. After 18 years I have just about picked up the rhythm of the extraordinary place that is the House of Commons. Between Christmas and the summer, most of the Second Readings of new bills have already taken place and we are into the slog period: when bills are scrutinised line by line in committees and then come back to the Commons for what is called the Report stage when the most controversial aspects of the bill are grappled with once again. This means being locked away upstairs in tightly packed committee rooms debating the meaning of the word "control" and other such delights. This means constant votes on a running three line whip. It basically means that there is little chance to escape the hothouse from Monday morning to Thursday night while we grind our way through the legislation that is going to solve every problem and make all of our lives better!
This year the Westminster climate cauldron contains additional ingredients. The government has set out a Queen Speech programme that will last eighteen months rather than the usual twelve, so the heavy-lifting period is likely to be extended. Add in the fact that the record batch of newly-elected MPs last May have just begun to show familiar signs of wear and tear as the grind takes its toll; sprinkle into the mix the hostility in constituency postbags provoked by the tough decisions on spending necessary to rescue our country's finances; and finally stir in the angst-filled dynamics of the brittle coalition, and I would say we are in a season I have not known before, a darker, longer winter perhaps.
Spring is on its way in Devon. Westminster? I'm not so sure! 

posted by Gary @ 10:35