05 June 2014, The Tablet

Running out of steam

The life of the present British Government began with two constitutional innovations, political chickens which would sooner or later come home to roost – a formal coalition between two parties, and a fixed-term Parliament. The latter was an attempt to bolster the stability of government that the former might otherwise have jeopardised. Experience elsewhere in Europe shows how coalitions bring with them the temptation for one or other element to walk away, triggering a fresh election, at a moment of maximum political advantage to itself. The disadvantage of a fixed-term Parliament is now apparent as the Government enters its last parliamentary year; there is a distinct lack of steam in the legislative pipework as revealed by the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday. The most important l
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