By Paul Goodman
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The Queen's Speech takes place tomorrow. Harry Phibbs wrote about its contents over the weekend. Last year, this site published an entire alternative Queen's Speech, and I thought it would be worth listing its measures in full:
- British Bill of Rights Bill – "In all but the most exceptional circumstances, human rights cases
brought in or against Britain should be decided in our Supreme Court,
- Promotion of Competition Bill – to promote more competition in water supply and banking in particular.
- Rail Improvements Bill – to plan for long-term investment in existing railways, rather than spend the same money on HS2.
- Make Prison Work Bill – to ensure that foreign nationals serve sentences in their country of origin, and mentally ill criminals
be sent to mental health professionals or social services.
- Fairness to UK Taxpayers Bill – to introduce a charge for the temporary use of UK roads and place a duty on NHS trusts to charge visitors.
- Affordable Energy Bill – to cut electricity generation subsidies, facilitate the extraction of shale gas away from settlements, and promote more competition amongst suppliers.
- Anti-Congestion Bill – to require local authorities as highways authorities to make
reducing road congestion a requirement of their highways strategy
- A Double EU Referendum Bill – to propose a Mandate Referendum for renegotiation followed by an In/Out Referendum, offering In on the renegotiated terms or Out.
- Education (Choice and Opportunity) Bill – to support new selective schools where there
is demand and allow private companies to run state schools for profit.
- University Standards Bill – to provide safeguards for the independence of Universities from the Office of Fair Access.
- Double Devolution Bill – to balance permitting the Scottish Parliament to set and collect most taxes with English votes for English laws at Westminster.
- Finance Bill – to reduce the top rate of tax to 40%, take more people out of the 40% rate, and reduce Capital Gains Tax to 20%.
- Trade Union Members' Bill – to make strike action legal only if 50% of a union's members take part in a ballot, and give union members more discretion over
political levy donations.
- Electoral Integrity Bill – to protect the integrity of voting from postal vote and personation fraud.
- Lords Reform Bill – to reform the Upper House after change has been considered by a Royal Commission.
A few of these ideas have been taken up by the Government. For example, there seems to be overlap between its Queen's Speech proposals and the Fairness to UK Taxpayers' Bill – including the restrictions on state pensions for people based abroad floated today.
More cannot be enacted within the framework of the Coalition. I have my doubts about one or two of the measures above – such as the double referendum bill, to which I'll return later this week – but many of the measures, such as the Electoral Integrity Bill, are badly needed.