The Beast of Bolsover was silenced on Queen's Speech day, and all because of the SNP's bottom battle over who sits where on Her Majesty's Opposition benches.

The Labour MP Dennis Skinner said it was the fighting 56 who made him forget to make a snarky remark during the state opening ceremony yesterday.

Who said you couldn't change the encrusted traditions of the House? Next, the SNP will be wanting Black Rod and Gold Stick in Waiting to start wearing white roses out of respect.

But the rest of the session won't be so easy for the Nationalists as they try to tackle the Tory legislative agenda. David Cameron is a moving target as he made clear in the speech he wrote for Mrs Windsor yesterday. The realities of governing with a small majority led the Tory Government to shoot a number of SNP foxes, if you'll excuse the pun.

The Prime Minister has a majority of 12 in the Commons and no majority at all in the House of Lords. So the Human Rights Act (HRA) is parked in "consultation" and English foxes have a reprieve, for now. Put another way, the Tories realise there is a lot of controversial material in this legislative programme and they don't want to be bogged down on relatively minor issues.

It's a small victory for the SNP and those principled souls on the Tory benches who had opposed making Britain join Belarus as the only European countries to set aside the European Convention on Human Rights (which Winston Churchill himself was instrumental in drafting after the Second World War.)

Mr Cameron doesn't want to have to take on the Scottish Parliament over the HRA at the same time as he is introducing English Votes for English Laws (Evel), for example. He has also tried to answer the West Lothian Question by the back door by altering standing orders rather than submitting this fundamental change to formal legislation. The Lords would have had a field day with that.

Mr Cameron's Evel plan is to have the Commons rules changed to allow a committee composed exclusively of English MPs to debate and vote on measures exclusively to do with England. Then all 650, including the Scots, will vote on whether bills are to become law.

This could go either way: it could mean nothing at all because the Commons as a whole will still have the final legislative say; or it could effectively mean the creation of a de facto English parliament. That's assuming anyone can actually define what an exclusively English bill actually is.

The Government is presumably hoping that, by convention, the rest of the House will respect the wishes of the English Grand Committee, as it might be called, and refrain from voting on, say, fox hunting in England.

It probably will, though some SNP MPs were minded to vote on fox hunting even though it is one of the few exclusively "English" bills around. Some thought that, since it was a conscience issue, they should not observe such constitutional niceties.

There is a precedent for Mr Cameron's plan. Under the Sewel Convention, the Scottish Parliament is not expected to put into law measures of the UK Parliament which it opposes. This hasn't been tested for a while, however, and the HRA looked like a prime candidate for testing Sewel.

It's all becoming very technical but we'd better get used to it. Nicola Sturgeon yesterday was trying to get back to questions about austerity and social justice but the reality is that the 56 SNP MPs can have little impact on the big issues of taxation and spending in the UK.

However, they might on questions to do with the constitution. Mr Cameron has promised to go further than the draft legislation implementing the Smith reforms on devolving income tax and some welfare provisions. He told the First Minister that he'd look at toughening up the welfare proposals, perhaps to let Holyrood set its own benefit levels.

But don't even think about this being paid for out of additions to the Barnett Formula. If Scotland wants to have better benefits it is going to have to pay for them out of the bloc grant; no tail wagging the dog here. This Parliament is going to be all about squeezing people on welfare.

Most benefit levels have been frozen for the next two years, including jobseekers allowance, and the benefit cap will be cut from £25,000 to £23,000. But that is only going to equal around one tenth of the £12 billion in welfare spending cuts not talked about in the Queen's Speech.

Is the Holyrood Parliament, during a period of intense budget constraints, really going to propose more generous benefits system in Scotland? How will it pay for it? Well, it could use the new powers to raise income taxes under the Smith reforms.

We're told these are to be rushed through to allow the Scottish Tories to go into the 2016 Holyrood elections committed to tax cuts in Scotland. That might well be an attractive sell. What is the SNP going to say: we'll increase taxes so that we can increase welfare payments?

That will be a heroic test of the thesis that Scots are indeed more in favour of redistribution of wealth than those south of the Border. But the problem is: who pays for the extra taxes? All the really wealthy people in Britain are all safely in London, sitting in their (untaxed) mansions.

Increasing basic income tax rates in Scotland when they are frozen by law in England will be extremely difficult, which is one reason the Smith reforms were always a fiscal trap. Giving Scotland power over this one highly visible and unpopular tax - with no powers over VAT, National Insurance and so on - puts a pistol to the head of the Scottish Government and invites it to pull the trigger.

Back in Westminster, the Scottish MPs will be able to do zilch about this. This is because much of the action on constitutional issues is going to be in the House of Lords where Mr Cameron does not even have a slim majority. The Lords has no ultimate power to over-ride the Commons on measures in a governing party's manifesto but it can cause a lot of trouble, especially on complex constitutional measures like the Smith legislation which could get into serious difficultly in the upper house. There are a heap of constitutionalists waiting to get their hands on this bill. Unfortunately, the SNP not be among them because they do not allow members to sit in the Lords, on the not unreasonable grounds that it is an unelected abomination.

But some, like the influential Nationalists blogger James Kelly, have urged them to reconsider. As the third party in the Commons, they would have the right to nominate a raft of SNP Lords who could stick their intellectual oars into Tory government legislation.

There's no sign of a change of heart on SNP ennoblement. Mind you it would be a good way to deal with the Alex Salmond problem. Imaging the trouble m'Lord Salmond of Strichen could get up to in the House of Lords.