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, 9 January 2014


Did you hear the starting gun go off? I did - it was the PM's bold statement on the Andrew Marr show last weekend that we would continue to protect the value of the state pension with the triple lock if he remains Prime Minister after 2015. The triple lock guarantees that the old age pension will increase each year by either: average earnings, the rise in inflation or 2 ½ % whatever is the higher. Quite right too.

It was the start of the general election campaign. Now that we have five years fixed term Parliaments we already know (baring cataclysmic events) that the next election will be on 7th May 2015. The PM was making a very specific pledge on one policy that will be in our manifesto. Somewhere in the heart of Downing Street there will be a grid setting out a clear path for similar policy announcements to be made between now and next May.

It is going to be relentless and for those who are not laying awake at night thinking about politics, gruesome. It is also largely pointless since most voters, very understandably, only really think about who to vote for just a few days before an election. But there will be no escape. The party machines will be in overdrive. 2014 will be a very good year to walk to the North Pole or discover a long last relative in Borneo who must be visited – at length.

There will be a Queen's Speech this May setting out the programme for the ensuing 12 months. It will be the shortest Speech on record as the prospect of much legislation from the coalition government in the run up to the 2015 election is fanciful. There will be plenty of debates, plenty of passion, plenty of hot air, but very little new law. That is in itself no bad thing as we probably pass too much new legislation.

The longest ever election campaign is partly a product of the fixed terms but also because politics has got interesting again after 20 years when there was not much difference between the two main parties. These days there is a growing divide: a separation of ideology between the blue and red and I welcome this. It gives voters a clear choice.

So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride. More policies than you can shake a stick at will be coming in your direction anytime soon.

posted by Gary @ 10:50