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Page last updated at 08:42 GMT, Friday, 16 July 2010 09:42 UK

How have the parties fared in our end of term report?

Dickon Hooper
Politics Show West

Nick Clegg MP
Nick Clegg told us before the election he imagined himself in Number 10

The sea change in West Country politics has been enormous over the last few months.

The election seems a distant memory now, party manifestos ditched in favour of the coalition document - and the focus shifted to the "war on the deficit", in the words of one senior civil servant I spoke to this week.

The cuts are the big story of course: some accuse the government of being ideologically-driven, while they maintain the deficit must be cut for economic stability and growth.

What we are seeing though is only the beginning.

Localism and centralism

What is being reported is just the top line figures of funding reductions or agencies to be shut, particularly in "regional" government; localism and centralism are the key buzzwords - anything that sits in between them should beware.

And we wait to see what the summer brings once the cuts start to bite: what will take on the work of the South West RDA and the local government offices, which look doomed; how many of their public sector workers can actually be redeployed?

And will the Government succeed in changing the law on redundancy pay-outs?

A lot of the detail is still to be worked out it seems, and trade unions are already organising; in Gloucestershire ex-Labour MP David Drew is fermenting revolt.

This anti-regionalism is one point the Lib Dems and the Tories have agreed on for a while though: we reported last year that they were sharpening their knives for the South West RDA.

But one area they will clash on is voting reform: the Lib Dems have secured a vote on May 5 next year on whether to hold a referendum on using the Alternative Vote (AV) system.

Mark Harper, the Tory MP for the Forest of Dean, is the Minister in charge of Political and Constitutional Change, but his party will actively campaign against AV.

Watch our show from 11th July on iPlayer to find out what he had to say about this.

This vote could cause the coalition some problems next May, particularly in Somerset where the partners can be bitter enemies.

Wells, Somerset
Wells was one constituency that changed hands in May

But unless they get it through, many Lib Dem activists may begin to wonder what's in it for them as the coalition implements the toughest austerity programme for decades.

With party conferences readying for September, it could be an interesting Autumn.

On the same day as the vote on an AV referendum, there will also be local council elections: the first time the Lib Dems have gone into them as a party of government, which traditionally gets a hammering.

Labour knows all about this mid-term caning, but where does it go now?

They have two MPs in our part of the West and a protracted leadership contest which won't be resolved until the Autumn.

And yet those MPs represent some of the poorest people in Bristol, who they say are adversely affected by public sector cuts and VAT rises.

We'll be asking Kerry McCarthy about this on Sunday's show: the Labour MP for Bristol East since 2005 is one of our guests, and she'll be joined by two "newbies", Tessa Munt (Lib Dem, Wells) and Claire Perry (Tory, Devizes).

Join us on BBC One, this Sunday 18th July, at 1130BST, for our last show before Autumn.




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