As many people will have noticed, for the last three or so years, since the referendum, the Government hasn’t really, well, done anything. Queen’s Speeches have come and gone, and Budgets, and we’ve even managed to squeeze in two general elections. But laws, policies… the actual stuff that changes our lives? Not so much of that stuff.
But that is all about to change. To misquote Charles de Gaulle, after Brexit, prepare yourselves for the deluge. Because not only will the government have got leaving the EU out of the way, but for the for the first time in nearly a decade-and-a-half, we will have a single party Government with a clear majority in Parliament, a mandate to do stuff, and the ability to plan for four or five years in which to do it.
Add the usual post-election surge of activity to the consequences of three years of policy-making backlog, and 2020 is shaping up to be a hell of a year for policy nerds. To take just one middle-ranking department for example, say Transport, there we have commitments to publish a White Paper on the fundamental reform of the rail industry, the Oakervee Review on the future of HS2, the Aviation Strategy, a Bus Strategy, a Transport Decarbonisation Strategy, and doubtless more besides. And all of those are committed for the next six months.
Extrapolate that across every other Government department, and the Government has major challenges in terms of bandwidth and prioritisation. And once these policies feed through into legislation, they will have major obstacles in terms of the allocation of Parliamentary time.
All in all, its got to be a good thing that we have a government that can “get things done” for the first time in a long time. In fact this used to be the norm in our politics. But its been so long since we’ve been in this situation that it all feels rather strange. But for policy buffs, after famine, now comes feast.