Now peers have sniggered their way through the faintly silly ritual of prorogation, Parliament is in limbo to await the state opening, and, of course, the Queen's Speech, which will set out the programme of lawmaking for the forthcoming parliamentary year.
The snag is that the next parliamentary year will be rudely interrupted by a general election, no later than 3 June. So most of the bills Her Majesty will list will not make it onto the statute books.
Typically a bill will take 10 weeks to pass through the Commons, and maybe eight more to clear the Lords.
After the state opening there will be four weeks legislating until the Christmas adjournment, which starts on 17 December. One week or so will be taken up debating the Queen's Speech....so that leaves three weeks for actual legislation, minus opposition days, ministerial statements and the like.
MPs return to Westminster on 5 January, and must expect Parliament to be dissolved for the next election by early May at the absolute latest. There will be an Easter break and a mid-February "constituency week", which suggests there is time to get a handful of bills through, but nothing like a full list.
So I suspect we'll see some symbolic bills, designed to highlight election issues. Of course, there may be some necessary legislation the parties co-operate to get through - you could imagine some important technical measure to do with banking might fall into that category.
But we'll have to wait for the post-election Queen's Speech for the hard governing to resume.
So what delights can we look forward to? One of Gordon Brown's innovations when he became PM was to publish a Draft Legislative Programme - a kind of pre-Queen's Speech. It included some worthy measures that don't look likely to set the sparks flying:
- The Constitutional Renewal Bill is now in mid-consideration by the Commons and will be carried over from the current parliamentary year. Because it has a head start, it has an excellent change of becoming law.
- The Bribery Bill (previously published in draft, was sent away to be re-written). It may include a ban on bribing foreign officials in their own countries, the difficulty being that what might be an expected level of hospitality in some nations would be considered outright bribery if offered here.
- The Financial Services and Business Bill, which will give new powers to the Financial Services Authority and strengthen market regulation.
- The Digital Economy Bill, which is UK-wide, covering everything from a clampdown on illegal file-sharing to promoting non-BBC regional news services, to age-rating for video games.
- The Energy Bill will set out a new funding mechanism to promote carbon capture and storage to combat global warming.
- Flood and Water Management Bill (the result of the Pitt Review which followed the disastrous floods of 2007, giving local councils a lead role in flood prevention. It covers England and in some respects Wales.)
- Improving Schools and Safeguarding Children Bill (an England-only bill which will replace school league tables with school report cards; scrap the national literacy and numeracy strategies and bring in a new framework to enable the media to report the proceedings from family courts.)
- Policing, Crime and Private Security Bill. It applies to England and Wales, and in some respects Northern Ireland. It covers matters ranging from cutting bureaucratic burdens on police to compelling sex offenders convicted abroad to give DNA samples when they return to the UK, to regulating private wheel-clamping firms.
- Cluster Munitions Prohibition Bill will ratify the international Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the use, development, production, acquisition, retention, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster bombs.
There are also four draft Bills in the DLP:
- House of Lords Reform Bill
- Antarctica Bill
- Immigration Simplification Bill
- Civil Law Reform Bill
Apparently we won't be seeing an Electoral Reform Bill, providing for a referendum on changing the voting system....