Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Old ceremony for the new politics

The old ceremony, described in the previous post, took place today but was it the beginning of the new politics much talked about by David Cameron and Nick Clegg?

Conservative MP, Peter Lilley, opened the Queen's Speech debate by proposing to give thanks to Her Majesty for coming to Parliament. Traditionally the humble address, as it's called, is normally a witty speech and Mr. Lilley certainly told many jokes, but most of them were directed at the coalition.

The MP for Hitchin and Harpenden said he wondered whether he should now refer to Liberal Democrat MPs as "My Honourable Friends" (a form of address normally for when an MP is referring to members of his or her own party). Mr. Lilley suggested calling his new Liberal Democrat allies, "partners".

The jokes underlined an issue which might become very serious in the come months and years, which is, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats simply don't like each other. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister seem to genuinely get along, but the rest of their MPs are not so keen.

Maybe time in power will help the two parties to bond, but there will be much argument and debate in the short term. Today's Queen's Speech was a mixture of Conservative and Liberal Democrat bills and many members of one party might find it difficult to vote for the policies of the other.

Compromise and restraint will be needed in the times ahead. For Westminster, that really will be new politics.

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