What can we expect to hear from the Tories at this week’s conference in Manchester...?
Well Francis Maude, you’ll remember him doubtless as the guy who was wanted every single man, woman, child and dog, to do something for the Big Society, but actually couldn't pinpoint one single thing that HE did for it, well, he is going to announce a restriction on the Civil Servants’ entitlement to take part in Trades Union activity whilst at work. Doubtless because the government in London expects there to be a considerable amount of disruption in the next year and want to make it as difficult as possible for them to organise it. So, some might think, a good thing, but probably not if you’re department staffing is being cut and you are expected, for the same money, to take on a number of new duties.
Tessie Kinky Boots May, is looking at the repeal of the Human Rights Act. (I’m not clear whether this will apply in Scotland, as, as I understand it, HR legislation was introduced in the Scotland Act). Again, I suspect that many people will be happy with that announcement. Of course, once you give a government carte blanche to ride roughshod over their human rights who knows what they will do. What Tess needs to do is to bring in legislation that stops lawyers making so much money from the cases. And the courts could try being a bit more sensible. Interestingly Ken Clarke recently said that it was inconceivable that the government would repeal the HR act; and the Liberals made it clear that it was here to stay, only last week. A huge plus from my point of view is that it would surely be out of the question for a country which had repealed legislation which it wrote and which was adopted by all of Europe, to go to war to enforce human rights elsewhere. So, we should save a few quid that way.
We’ve all heard that Plan B to restart the economy is to allow 80mph on motorways. I don’t know about that, but it should bring in a lot more money in petrol taxes, and car repairs. Yes, I know there is no limit on most German motorways, but then they don’t have potholes big enough to swallow a small European country.
It’s been a little unfortunate for Cammy that a couple of experts have poured scorn on some of the policies and personalities, just as conference is beginning. Mike Slade, chairman of the Conservative Property Forum, and a developer himself, has said that he is shocked by the naivety of ministers because they have never been in the real world, and describes Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, as ‘a kid who doesn’t understand planning’. Oops. Then the Commons Treasury chairman said that Osborne was pursuing a strategy better suited to times of abundance rather than austerity. Oops again.
I’m left without a great deal of confidence in what this coalition is up to.