This has been a particularly busy week at Westminster. The Queen’s Speech launched the next parliamentary session, a new MP for South Shields arrived and all the parties reflected on last week’s elections.
This year’s Queen’s Speech is particularly important. At this stage of a parliament the government is keeping one eye on the general election – just two years away.
Draft bills and carry over bills may emerge at just the wrong, or perhaps right, time in the electoral cycle.
But there’s an even bigger headache for the prime minister as he tries to navigate through waters made choppy by the emergence of UKIP.
On the one hand he has his backbenchers urging tougher action on Europe and immigration, but on the other he is bound to the Lib Dems by the coalition agreement.
A Queen’s Speech about growth and jobs would help get rid of the uncertainty and hardship which is unsettling voters in the first place.
Closer to home I was delighted to see Norma Redfearn elected as our next mayor. Given a fair wind, she’ll do an excellent job.
For Linda Arkley, who I rarely agreed with politically but got along with fine on a personal level, defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow. But politics is, as they say, a tough business. Here in North Tyneside we had two strong women who their parties are fortunate to have.