I can’t help but think that yesterdays Queens speech was a waste of time for everybody involved. The Prime Minister doesn’t want to let this parliament sit for long enough to enact any of the legislation that the Her Majesty put forward. It’s clear to anyone that thinks about the issue that the whole ceremony was nothing more than a cynical stunt by the government to make the Queen read a draft of the Conservative manifesto, when instead the Prime Minister should have been apologising for misleading her only weeks earlier.
There was no need for a Queens speech to introduce any of those planned bills, the government could have introduced them and extended the session. As we (eventually) saw with the Domestic Abuse Bill there are parliamentary means to ensure that progress on important bills isn’t lost when the parliamentary session ends. But we have spent enough time over the last three years going over the intricacies of parliamentary procedure, let us look at the substance of the speech.
The government has spent three years fighting with itself on Brexit, both the Prime Minister and his predecessor spent far too long ignoring the arithmetic in Parliament and look where that has got us: nowhere. It’s time for a common-sense solution to the issue, one that protects workers’ rights, environmental protections, consumer standards, and that upholds the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement with a customs union and a close relationship to the single market.
We’ve had nearly a decade of Tory austerity now; the economy is weak, productivity is falling, wages are lower than they were 10 years ago, there are more workers in poverty, more children in poverty, more people sleeping rough on our streets and more families without a safe and secure place to call home.
What did the Queens Speech have to say about towns like Oldham? Nothing. So much for Government’s commitment to the Stronger Towns Fund, they don’t have any plans to actually make them stronger. This was the Tory Party’s chance to make a pitch to towns like Oldham and they either forgot to mention what they could do for us or they simply just don’t care. I know which horse my money is on.
The parts of the speech about crime and justice, were nothing more than cynical headline grabbing attempts by the government in order for them to claim that the they are the party of law and order.
They cannot claim to be that party because they’re planning to hire 20,000 police officers, because it’s their fault they were cut in the first place. They cannot claim to care about justice given the state of our court system in this country, hundreds of them have closed and where they haven’t closed permanently only some of the court rooms are available for use because of the utter state of disrepair that this government has allowed to continue.
The rest of the announcements on public services just don’t hold water, the Conservative Party have been in Government for nearly ten years now. If they wanted to solve the issues the NHS has they’d have done it by now, if they wanted to make sure our education service fully supports our children they’d have done it by now, if they wanted to fix our prison system they’d have done it by now, and if they wanted a strong economy that pays fair wages they’d have done it by now.