Your guide to making sense of this whole mess.
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This is how to start something new.

Can you that blowing through your hair? Gently brushing your skin? Giving you ever so slight shivers down your spine? Exciting isn't it. That right there is the wind of change.

I wrote at length last week about leaving the EU and entering transition. I know lots of people open this email at the weekend and for them, this whole leaving the EU will be yesterday's news. Today's chip paper (does anyone still use newspaper to wrap chips? Not here in Whitstable, but then I'm aware that this is, well, Whitstable). 

No, today we're having a look at what Boris Johnson's best foot forward is. What is going to happen this week to secure our place out and into the world?

Well, lovely people of the SP mailing list, we're starting with... The Agriculture Bill. Wooooo!  Hurrahhh! Farmers are go!

Actually, this is a pretty symbolic act. Farmers were one of the big groups who campaigned in favour of Brexit. They saw the regulations inflicted on them from Brussels as being a bit rubbish. 

While the bill is largely giving powers to do things that haven't quite been decided yet, it is hugely wide-ranging.  It looks at everything from compensation payments 'in response to exceptional market conditions, to food security, to the power to encouraging food production.  The National Farmer's Union are largely quite pleased.

After that, in this heady new era, there isn't much going on. Presumably, the Big Stuff is coming just around the corner.

Perhaps another symbolic moment next week is when the no-blame divorce bill starts its journey through Parliament in the Lords on Wednesday. Or maybe it's just a coincidence that a government, looking to keep a caring and positive relationship, even if from a distance, with a former close (intimate?) partner.

Finally, underneath this bit, there is another money request. I really hate asking for money. As in, a lot. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no choice in this. We absolutely have to build up a monthly base, or by the summer it's curtains for SP. If you like these emails, if you value what we do, please consider chipping in to keep us on the road / in your inbox / stumbling around social media. Thank you.
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Next week in Parliament (and Oxford)

The big, big day this week is next Saturday (8th) when the family comedy politics show I do, with Tiernan Dioueb (from Comedy Club 4 Kids) hits the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford. Check out www.politicsforkids.co.uk for details. I would say this, but it's brilliant.

House of Commons:

Monday: The Agricultural Bill. I've been through it above, but it's a wide-ranging bill that creates powers on lots of things to decide exactly what we'll do a bit later.

Tuesday: The NHS Funding Bill comes through its final stages of the Commons. It commits the government to spend extra money on the NHS.

Wednesday: Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party have a day to decide what they're going to debate. They've gone with local government finance followed by transport. These debates can have a lot of heat and light but rarely come to much.

Thursday: Two general debates today. The first is on historic stillbirth burials and cremations, followed by children's mental health week. It's worth noting that, while little action comes out of these Thursday debates, they are so often some of the most important issues to be debated in a week. Well worth listening in if you have the opportunity.

Friday: MPs will be in their constituencies

Saturday: Did I mention you should come to Oxford for the show? You definitely should. 

House of Lords:

Monday: Birmingham will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. To do so they need a very, very boring bill to facilitate some bits and pieces. That's what will keep the House of Lords from finding themselves bored elsewhere today.

Tuesday: It's hard to arrest someone wanted elsewhere. Arrests need a weight of evidence that sometimes doesn't exist in this country. A new bill today, Extradition (Provisional Arrest) bill, creates the ability to arrest without a warrant to extradite for serious offences.

Wednesday: The blame-free divorce is coming. Right now you need to list unreasonable things the other has done, or refer to someone with whom your partner has been unfaithful. It's very long, confrontational and acrimonious. Believe me when I say it's no fun whatsoever. 

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation bill will remove the need to 'establish facts'. It also aims to speed up the process. That it's starting off in the Lords suggests that it has wide cross-party support and will sail through both houses.  

Thursday: Nothing much
In the final throes of 2019, we sold over 400 copies and have been SOLD OUT for weeks. Good news, folks, is that it's back! Get yours quick!
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