Your guide to making sense of this whole mess.
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In the slightly chaotic email I sent at the beginning of the week (apologies), I promised you a full email today. To those of you who were excited by this, I'm delighted to deliver. To the rest, I can only apologise.

Before we get down to it, I need to bring up the sticky subject of money. I appealed to your hearts, your purses and your wallets at the start of the election campaign. You were so incredibly generous. That money allowed us to do wonderful things over the election, reaching millions and millions of people. Thank you. 

What we need now, though, is monthly subscriptions. We need to build over 2020 to become a sustainable organisation for years to come.  One-off donations are lovely and generous and appreciated, but they don't do that.

You, as a reader of this email, are one of the people who have the most direct contact with me and with SP. On here I write personally and honestly in a way that isn't possible on social media. I love it. I love talking to you in my real voice. I hope you don't find it overly excruciating. 

You have been more generous in the past than anyone else.  As such, I hate to throw myself at your feet once again, but I have to do what I have to do to secure the future of Simple Politics.

Thank you for your help in the past. You've made such a difference. Please consider helping again.

Peace and love,

Yes! I'd like to help.

Political Nostalgia

It's been a while. The last time that a government had a bigger majority than Boris Johnson's was Blair's second government from 2001 to 2005. 

This week, the Brexit Bill was passed unchanged by MPs and I'd expect the same to happen to the House of Lords next week. The convention is that manifesto promises from the winning party at an election are waved through by the Chamber in red.

Yes, there is plenty of Brexit still to go. This particular bill agrees a few things about how we leave. It doesn't set up anything about anything in the future. 

The new European Commission President said this week that 'without an extension of the transition period beyond 2020, you cannot expect to agree on every single aspect of our new partnership. We will have to prioritise.' As part of this Brexit bill, Johnson has ruled out an extension. There are some real battle yet to be won.

I will, of course, keep you up to date with these negotiations (and the fallout from these negotiations) as we go along. These negotiations, though, will happen well away from Parliament. MPs will not be involved.

So, what, you might ask, is going to happen in the House of Commons in 2020? The truth is that we're going to go back (whisper it) to business as usual.  The Johnson government will bring forward new laws. 

They will identify problems in our nation, suggest solutions and put them to Parliament to be agreed. With the majority that they have, they will be agreed. We'll have a series of bills that the various ministers think will improve the country.

The Opposition parties will suggest their alternative solutions. They may even get very angry at the solutions being forced upon them by the government. Without the votes, however, there is not much they will be able to do in the Commons. Instead, they will take to the media and try to put pressure on those in power in other ways.

This is how things used to be. Before Brexit. Before the chaos of the past few years. Before, even, the creation of Simple Politics.


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The Queen's Speech debate

Before we get to the solutions, however, we've got some unfinished business. 

At the start of a Parliamentary session, there is a Queen's Speech. You may remember we had one in December, or you may have been distracted by the whole Christmas thing. Anyway, I can assure you it did happen. 

Following the Queen's Speech there are a series of debates. The opening debate is on the content of the speech as a whole. If you're a fan of differing ideologies setting out their competing visions for the future (and really, who isn't?) it makes excellent viewing.

That initial debate happened as normal on the afternoon of Her Majesty's oration. It was more subdued than normal, as might be expected after the election results. 

The next five days of debate were suspended so that the Prime Minister could get his Brexit bill vote through as he had promised.  So we're back to where we might have been at the end of 2019. More political nostalgia, perhaps.

What we've got this week is the individual subject debates, when the relevant minister puts forward the plans for the year and others have the opportunity to question and debate.

Here's what's happening this week:

House of Lords:

All week: Debating (and rubber stamping) the EU Withdrawal Bill

House of Commons:

Monday: QS debate - Britain in the World

Tuesday: QS debate - Education and local government

Wednesday: QS debate - The Green Industrial Revolution

Thursday: QS debate - Health and social care

Friday: MPs will be in their constituencies

Monday: QS debate - Economy and jobs
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