This article was written for the Rhymney Valley Express.
MPs have just been given more time for their constituency work. Or, if you believe the tabloid newspapers, MPs have been given extra holidays.
Whichever you believe, what is the case is that MPs have been told by the Government to leave Parliament a week earlier than was planned.
Why has this happened? Is it because the Government think that MPs are overworked and need more time off? Or is it that the Government recognise that their crackpot policies are causing so many problems for ordinary people that MPs need more time to deal with the growing amount of constituency casework?
No, the real reason is this: MPs are being sent home from Westminster because the Government has got nothing for them to do. There are now very few new laws coming from the Government, and even fewer new ideas, because the Coalition cannot agree a full parliamentary programme.
The Government’s fear is that with hardly any government business to debate, the Labour Opposition will use the time to criticise the Government and put forward its own policies.
But rather than allow the Labour Party to dominate the political agenda in Westminster, the Liberal Democrats and the Tories would rather close down Parliament and use the time to fight each other like cats and dogs. What should be happening of course is that Parliament ought to be sitting so that the many problems of the nation can be tackled.
You might think that the problem can be solved if we had a general election immediately. That would be the common sense thing to do but in its wisdom a few years ago the Government introduced the Fixed Term Parliament Act. This means that there cannot be an election until May next year. Until then we will see a continuation of the Parliament of the “living dead”.
In the meantime, while the economic “recovery” will bring disproportionate benefit to the well off, most ordinary people will have to put up with cuts in public expenditure and many will continue to see a fall in their standard of living.