Simon Carr:

The Sketch: It's all sweetness and light now – but just you wait until October

Will they manage the 40 per cent cuts they're talking about? They'll end up with half what they aim for

Share
Related Topics

It's that blessed period for the Government – war's been declared but the fighting hasn't started. The cuts have been itemised but haven't been implemented. It's been a lovely time for a honeymoon, what with the weather and that afternoon in the Rose Garden.

After three years of drizzle and misery it's all sunshine.

Now that the angry Scot has gone home, relations in the House are polite to the point of chivalry. There was a small Labour effort at the beginning to bring some darkness back into the Chamber. Ed Balls did what he could – and Fiona Mactaggart occasionally lets out a mad screech of anguish to make everyone laugh. But in general terms, the violence has been put on hold, waiting for the new Labour leader. The Sketch has had to look for a whole new vocabulary of approval. It'll be ready just in time for when the rancour returns in October.

What then of yesterday? Alan Johnson made a crack about the Brokeback Tendency but then amended it to the Bareback Tendency. It was funny watching Tory MPs and identifying the ones who knew what it meant (a slang term to describe acts of gay unprotected sex) and those who didn't. It wasn't clear whether Theresa May was blushing, but she giggled, gaspingly.

What have we had from Parliament? A new discourse and a blistering pace of new Bills, abolitions and announcements. The Freedom Bill is coming in first thing in September. New schools can be started by ordinary folk (we might even have a couple this year). Bureaucracies are to be abolished, the health and safety culture is to be swept away. Now we have entered the fantasy world politicians.

For a Government dedicated to the proposition that bureaucratic shuffling doesn't work, we've had a lot of bureaucratic shuffling. RDAs are reformed as LEPs, SOCA is turning into the NCA while powers of the PCTs and SHAs are being given to GPs.

Will they get rid of whole tiers of bureaucracy? Will they manage the 40 per cent cuts they're talking about?

They'll end up with half what they aim for – and by a charming coincidence they'll implement Alastair Darling's deficit reduction plan exactly. Labour will find it hard to argue against that whoever's leading it.

What other pleasing prospects are there? David Miliband might win and put Ed Balls in as Shadow Chancellor. Another 10 years re-running the last 10 years – this time in the cartoon version.

If he couldn't put Ed Balls there, maybe Yvette would be the one. It would be a terrific two fingers to Ed and yet he couldn't complain. He'd look after the children and teach them "the language of mums and dads" that he tells us he can speak so well.

The Brokeback rebellion. We'll have a rollicking start in September when the AV Vote Referendum Bill comes in for its 2nd Reading. There's an Early Day Motion out signed by 44 Tories in a demonstration of anti-Liberal power. The coalition will creak but it won't break up (why would it?).

And in the following moment, Labour elects its leader. If Ed Miliband wins (he's everyone's second preference) the perverse result will discredit AV and the Tories will exult. They'll get their extra 20 seats from their boundary changes without losing the 20 seats from a change in the voting system. And they'll have Ed Miliband dying in a ditch, fighting the electorate hand-to-hand. "Social cohesion or death!"

So why is the Tory right complaining? Is it even a Tory government? The Brokeback crack says they wouldn't be convicted of it. They're like that joke about a man charged with indecent exposure but acquitted on grounds of insufficient evidence.

But it looks like a Tory government to me. In fact it looks like the British political party that wins power every time it appears. Cameron and Clegg have created what Sidney Smith in the 1830s felt to be Britain's ideal government: a liberal Tory administration with a healthy fear of the newspapers.

My end of term report

* Leaving aside the big winners at the top of government, Teresa May has turned out better than anyone except her mother had thought possible. There's something a little stately about her – what seemed ineffectual in opposition is commanding in government.



* Among the new intake, Chuka Ummana has made a lordly start in the Treasury select committee. Breeding always shows.



* Jacob Rees Mogg speaks rarely, biding his time. He's a parliamentary mutant expressing something ancestral and essential about the Conservatives. In that sense he is the Denis Skinner of his party.



* Claire Perry isn't biding her time. She's ex-George Osborne's office and must be on the way to higher things. Has great potential. Comic potential, obviously.



*The second row on the opposition benches is dominated by a line-up of Rachel Reeves, Emma Reynolds, Luciana Berger. They're clever but haven't the first idea how to ask a question in the Commons. Alas, they don't lack confidence.



* Lynne Featherstone amazed the Gallery when she introduced some Bill by tossing her layered hair and giggling.



* Andrew Tyrie beat Michael Fallon to the chair of the Treasury committee. Natascha Engel beat Alan Haslehurst to the chair of the Backbench Business Committee. Democracy's a very odd thing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Nick Clegg (R) Liberal Democrat Leader and former leader Charles Kennedy MP, joined the general election campaign trail on April 8, 2010  

Charles Kennedy: The only mainstream political leader who spoke sense

Tim Farron
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific