by MONITOR l NO one can accuse Tony Blair of slowing down as he moves towards retirement. The legislative agenda that he put before Parliament on Tuesday is one of heaviest in living memory and there must be serious doubt whether it can be carried through in the time available, even though the parliamentary term just started will last until the end of next year. Ministers, MPs, Lords and civil servants are going to have to work very hard in the coming months. Two important question arise: first, given the pressure that Labour's programme will put on the government and parliamentary machines, is there a danger that some legislation will be hurriedly and imperfectly drafted and given insufficiently detailed consideration in the legislative chambers?; second, is all this legislsation really necessary to achieve what in some cases are matters that cannot be reformed by law but only by education and persuasion? In the fields of education and health there cannot be much complaint that Mr Blair wants to put his final stamp on reforms, especially those involving a measure of privatisation, that might not be pursued with such vigour by his successor. For better or worse the prime minister has overseen a vast investmet in these public services and he is entitled to argue that it is in his third term that the benefits will begin to show through. However, several of the proposed Bills, especially those concerned with crime and security, touch on social ills which legislation, however well intended, often fails to address. The more specific such law-making becomes the more the government risks being accused of running both a police and a nanny state at the same time. There will be opposition to some measures in the Parliamentary Labour Party as well as from the two opposition parties, even though the Conservatives will be preoccupied. Starting with the EU presidency and the G8 summit in the summer, Mr Blair faces an exhausting and testing time.