Wednesday, August 18, 2010

100 days of Liberal Conservatism

Is it really 100 days already? It feels like only a short time ago that we saw David Cameron walk into Number 10 and the coalition begin its work. I certainly haven't quite got used to the new regime. After 13 years of opposition I still find myself thinking of our top table as "Shadow Ministers" and the man in charge is still "DC" in my mind rather than "Prime Minister". But no-one can say things haven't begun to change quite significantly since the new Government took office.

Everyone else is doing features and lists, so I thought I'd have a trawl through government websites and reflect on my own impressions. So here, in no particular order, are the first 33 of my top 100 things that have changed since the election (next 33 tomorrow):

  1. We have the first coalition government for 70 years
  2. All schools have the chance to become academies- a huge step forward in my book.
  3. The Treasury is getting a grip on the deficit
  4. Ministerial cars have been scaled down, and the PM has scrapped his police outriders.
  5. Council propaganda 'newspapers' are on the way out (hurrah!)
  6. We have the third female Leader of the Opposition in British history (and the first of the three not to be called Margaret)
  7. Sayeeda Warsi is the first Muslim to be a full member of Cabinet.
  8. The Prime Minister lives at Number 10, not Number 11 (for the moment)
  9. President Obama is getting on well with the British Prime Minister
  10. The Government has apologised for Bloody Sunday
  11. The Prime Minister takes regular questions from the public at "PM Direct" events.
  12. TV election debates are here to stay
  13. Fixed-term Parliaments have been introduced, and the PM will no longer set the election date.
  14. The number of MPs is being reduced.
  15. A change to the voting system is a real possibility.
  16. The National Citizen Service is being piloted.
  17. An inquiry into the treatment of terror suspects has been set up.
  18. Health and safety legislation is being reviewed to reduce the effect of the 'compensation culture'
  19. Frank Field and Alan Milburn are leading reviews into poverty and social mobility.
  20. The Government spending database has been published online, and all future items of spending over £25,000 will be published
  21. The UK National Security Council has been formed
  22. Ministers have had their pay cut and frozen for the duration of this Parliament
  23. The Audit Commission has been scrapped, and replaced with scrutiny by local people
  24. Home Information Packs have been scrapped
  25. Pensions will rise in line with earnings, prices or by 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest
  26. A levy on banks has been announced
  27. UK overseas aid is to be focussed on fewer countries in future
  28. The UK Film Council is being abolished (in case you hadn't noticed)
  29. We have a Department for Education instead of the absurd Department for Children, Schools and Families (aka the Department for Curtains and Soft Furnishings)
  30. A £50m fund for new cancer drugs has been set up
  31. Local councils will take a role overseeing local health services
  32. The first new private university since 1976 has been given the go-ahead
  33. Prices in Houses of Parliament cafes and bars will be increased (nooooooooo!)

There - quite a few things I'd either missed or forgotten, but certainly no-one can say the government hasn't hit the ground running. The irony is the origin of the political obsession with '100 days' was John F Kennedy's inauguration speech, when he said 'All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor in the first 1,000 days.'

1,000 days? Wonder what things will look like then...

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