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How the Coalition Can Move Forward From the 2012 Queen's Speech

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Yesterday, at the so-called "rose garden re-launch", a worker put a question to the Prime Minister and his Deputy that told more than it asked. Due to the vast differences between Conservative and Liberal ideologies concocting what the questioner called "watered down policies", he asked what could be done over the next three years.

David Cameron responded by accepting that there were two different parties within the coalition but stating that the government was still "making difficult decisions" and "getting the job done". His answer was an almost word-for-word recital of the standard Downing Street briefing on the matter.

However, it must be pretty tricky. The Conservative right and Liberal left are getting increasingly rattled. Even the most straight-forward corners of the coalition agreement have caused huge rows between backbenchers, and ministers. So, as Cameron met with Nick Clegg to write the 2012 Queen's Speech, the pressure on the negotiation table was high.

The result was simple, but disappointing. In terms of important legislation actually included in the speech, it was pretty thin on the ground. After weeks of accusations that the coalition is losing momentum, was I the only hoping for a much more substantial beginning of "phase two"?
Overall, only fifteen bills made the cut. Even the most comprehensive reforms, like those to the banking sector, energy market and the House of Lords, seem to lack detail and direction at the moment. This is the biggest political problem for the coalition right now.

Without direction, a government lacks drive. We've seen how far this can deteriorate, in the final years of New Labour. There's a fine line between treading carefully and not being seen to tread at all.

I accept that it's incredibly hard to be radical when you don't know which direction to head towards. No matter what Downing Street does, Tory backbenchers will say they're being ignored, and Lib Dems will remind them of the coalition deal.

This issue is only magnified by the re-gathering of the Labour Party. I've hardly been quiet about the Opposition's struggle to prosper under the Miliband leadership. Yet- the party has been improving for weeks. Its journey has been by no means consistent, but the contrast between Autumn 2010 and today is almost unrecognisable.

After a strong, genuinely witty introduction into his Queen's Speech response, the Leader of the Opposition made his strongest parliamentary contribution yet. Content is still an issue for him, but a slicker style and more confident delivery saw his performance receive resoundingly good reviews. Even his corny jokes began to trend on twitter.

It should probably be noted that on Wednesday 9 May 2012, Ed Miliband's party leadership came of age.

What can the government do, though? My suggestion is to forget about politics, and focus on the people that vote. Last Thursday's elections could have been worse for the government, but they weren't great. This isn't a pattern of tradition- it's individual voters turning their backs on parties they were passionately supporting two years ago.

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats need to step outside of the Westminster bubble and get some air.They should regian their focus, and direct it towards things that matter to real people.

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