Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair. Photo:Getty Images
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What to look out for in the Queen's Speech

Repealing the Human Rights Act is already out, but what might be in?

Today's Queen's Speech isn't the one that Downing Street expected. Senior Conservatives thought they would be back in office, yes, but in either a second coalition or another, looser, arrangement with Britain's smaller parties. They, like the Liberal Democrats, stood on a manifesto that was coalition-ready, but unlike the Liberal Democrats, who carved out small policy areas they could wheedle from the Conservatives or Labour, the Tories started big, expecting to be negotiated down by the Liberal Democrats.

Now they have to find a way to climb down themselves without losing face. Repealing the Human Rights Act may get a namecheck in the speech but will not form part of the parliamentary timetable. With Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats all opposed, just six wavering Tories could defeat the measure, and there are certainly more than six Conservative MPs with concerns about leaving the European Court of Human Rights. That battle aside, what else is there to expect in the Queen's Speech?

In, Out, Shake It All About

With a majority secured, David Cameron can proceeded with his plans for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. Labour's U-Turn - the party, which opposed a referendum in the election, will now support the passage of a Referendum Bill through the Commons - isn't quite as pointless as it sounds. The Bill still has to pass through both Houses of Parliament, and without Labour support that could get tricky, as various amendments - whether turnout has to clear a certain threshold, whether the vote has to be carried in all the constituent kingdoms of the UK, who votes, what the exact question - get tacked on and voted on. Labour support means that there will definitely be a Referendum Bill at the end of the day - although it also emboldens Conservative rebels to ask for more, knowing that the referendum itself is now safely in the bag.

Are You There, GCHQ? It's Me, Margaret

The so-called "snoopers charter" is back. The Data and Communications Bill is contentious - you can read Caroline Lucas' argument against it here - the libertarian wing of the Conservative party will vote against but there will be more than enough authoritarians on the Labour benches to make its passage a formality.

Read My Lips: No New Taxes

The Tories will proceed with their plans to link the income tax threshold with the minimum wage and to outlaw any rises in income tax, valued added tax or national insurance for the next five years. Quite what they will do if at some point in the next five years, Greece defaults or a major bank gets into difficulty is, at time of writing, unclear.

They'll Take Our Seats, But We'll Never Devolve Their Freedom

A Scotland Bill will carry through the Smith Commission's plans to devolve further powers to the Scottish parliament. Against the wishes of some in his own party - and in Labour - David Cameron will not call Nicola Sturgeon's bluff and offer full fiscal autonomy, at least not yet.

Suffer The Little Children

Childcare is one to watch. Having spent most of the short campaign saying that 15 hours was fine, thank you very much, and that Labour's plan for 25 hours of free childcare was simply excessive, the Conservatives decided they were losing the fight - "it becomes a numbers game you can only lose" in the words of one MP - and went for 30 hours. It's not clear how this will be paid for, particularly in light of the party's deficit reduction timetable and the pledge not to raise taxes. 

Right To Buy 2: Straight To Video

The Conservative pledge to allow tenants to buy housing associations is one to watch. It's difficult to work out how you would draft this law without scooping in individual private landlords as well. Oh, and if it does pass, expect a court battle. It will, apparently, be in the Queen's Speech though. How the government gets out of this hole is, again, one to watch.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

Arsène Wenger. Credit: Getty
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My biggest regret of the Wenger era? How we, the fans, treated him at the end

Arsenal’s greatest coach deserved better treatment from the Club’s supporters. 

I have no coherent memories of Arsenal before Arsène Wenger, who will leave the Club at the end of the season. I am aware of the Club having a new manager, but my continuous memories of my team are of Wenger at the helm.

They were good years to remember: three league titles, seven FA Cups, the most of any single manager in English football. He leaves the Club as the most successful manager in its history.

I think one of the reasons why in recent years he has taken a pasting from Arsenal fans is that the world before him now seems unimaginable, and not just for those of us who can't really remember it. As he himself once said, it is hard to go back to sausages when you are used to caviar, and while the last few years cannot be seen as below par as far as the great sweep of Arsenal’s history goes, they were below par by the standards he himself had set. Not quite sausages, but not caviar either.

There was the period of financial restraint from 2005 onwards, in which the struggle to repay the cost of a new stadium meant missing out on top player. A team that combined promising young talent with the simply bang-average went nine years without a trophy. Those years had plenty of excitement: a 2-1 victory over Manchester United with late, late goals from Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry, a delicious 5-2 thumping of Tottenham Hotspur, and races for the Champions League that went to the last day. It was a time that seemed to hold the promise a second great age of Wenger once the debt was cleared. But instead of a return to the league triumphs of the past, Wenger’s second spree of trophy-winning was confined to the FA Cup. The club went from always being challenging for the league, to always finishing in the Champions League places, to struggling to finish in the top six. Again, nothing to be sniffed at, but short of his earlier triumphs.

If, as feels likely, Arsenal’s dire away form means the hunt for a Uefa Cup victory ends at Atletico Madrid, many will feel that Wenger missed a trick in not stepping down after his FA Cup triumph over Chelsea last year, in one of the most thrilling FA Cup Finals in years. (I particularly enjoyed this one as I watched it with my best man, a Chelsea fan.) 

No one could claim that this season was a good one, but the saddest thing for me was not the turgid performances away from home nor the limp exit from the FA Cup, nor even finishing below Tottenham again. It was hearing Arsenal fans, in the world-class stadium that Wenger built for us, booing and criticising him.

And I think, that, when we look back on Wenger’s transformation both of Arsenal and of English football in general, more than whether he should have called it a day a little earlier, we will wonder how Arsenal fans could have forgotten the achievements of a man who did so much for us.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman and the PSA's Journalist of the Year. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.