I’ll try and do a more detailed and thorough review of the Throne Speech later, but I thought I’d just give my initial thoughts on it now.
My first impression was that it was a bit flat. Like a dark and stormy left out overnight. And with only a half-measure of cheap rum. No fizz, just a little bit of a bite, but nothing really all that great.
In fairness, that’s probably my fault, in that I had somewhat of an heightened expectation for the speech. I expected it to be very much a precursor to the election, highlighting the policies that will be amplified in the election manifesto, have the power to really energise the Party’s base and reach out to the swing voters that really determine the election. And this speech really didn’t live up to those expectations.
There are some good things in the speech. I don’t deny that. But it didn’t really live up to my expectations for a pre-election launch rehearsal.
Nonetheless, there were a few important things to note from yesterday, namely that the House of Assembly did briefly hold a session and a number of proposed bills or amendments were made. These will be debated in the next sitting. I’m not sure if they’ll be passed in time for the election (by both the House and Senate), but I believe it is likely they will. Passing some of these could well be seen by the PLP as a key electoral tactic, in that their passage could swing some votes in their favour.
Some of the key proposals are:
Defence Amendment Bill – Likely the abolishing of conscription, which could win some votes amongst the youth.
Gaming Referendum Bill – Controversial, but presumably the Government feels it is necessary to hold in order to assure new hotel developments (who would want a yes and will be waiting the result before making investment decisions). I understand a referendum would be held about 90 days after the bill is passed?
Economic Development Orders – I believe this concerns the expansion of the North-East Hamilton EEZ into the Greater Pembroke EEZ – which may shore up support for the PLP in these already largely PLP strongholds. Either way it would allow the PLP to make much hay about it for an election platform (I should note I support these, and I think they’ve been in development for quite some time).
There are a number of crime-related bills/amendments also. I’ll have to read over the Throne Speech again to figure out what these are likely to be, but seeing as the election is already largely being fought over the issues of crime and the economy, it’s not unexpected that the PLP would want to point to what they’re doing (with these proposals) on this issue.
IF the House doesn’t sit again until next Friday, the earliest these proposals can be passed would be Wednesday, November 14th, when the Senate meets. IF parliament sits on Monday (which is possible) then these could be passed by the Senate meeting this coming Wednesday, November 7th.
IF the Premier is waiting until these are passed before announcing the election, I imagine we should be looking at these two Wednesdays very closely. Which, presuming it takes about 30 days between dropping the election writ and holding the election, places the probable election date for between December 7th and the 17th. Unless she changes her mind about calling the election this year, of course.
Her speech at the PLP banquet tonight should give some further hints concerning the election also.