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, 28 March 2013


Easter heralds the start of spring, at least in theory. Last year Jan's horses were staying out at night by now. This year they are reluctant to emerge, shivering, from their stables even during the day.

Isn't that the wonder of our island: we have seasons, but our changeable weather makes it impossible to predict precisely what we are going to receive and when.

Politics also has a seasons and ours has shifted significantly. The recent move to five year fixed term Parliaments means that short of unforeseen events, our elections will be on the first Thursday in May every five years. This helps the powers that be to plan the cycle more effectively. The State Opening of Parliament will now become a regular feature in May rather than the autumn. We are due to have this year's Queen's Speech on 8th May, not long after Easter.

As you know, this great pageant kicks off the Parliamentary calendar and should set the agenda for the ensuing twelve months. At the moment, that agenda is already set. It is all about slogging through necessary spending reductions and trying to get our annual deficit under control at the same time as stimulating growth in the economy. Our deficit has already come down by a third since 2010, but there is a long way to go. The focus on finances will be punctuated by toughening up our immigration and welfare systems which most people will support. In truth, many of us feel that we do not need much new legislation; we just have to implement well the things we have already introduced.

The new cycle has one downside however: it means that election campaigns will get longer. Once we get within two years of the due date, all of the emphasis will be on polling day. This is not the best news you will ever receive, but at least we can encourage ourselves with the thought that very few (if any) countries in the world are better run.

Easter is not just about the start of a new season. It is the celebration of an historic event.  Roughly 2000 years ago Jesus hung on a cross and died for us. Thankfully it did not end there or we would only be celebrating Good Friday. Three days later the tomb was empty and he appeared to his followers.

Easter is the triumph of life over death. It is a time of hope.

posted by Gary @ 13:41