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Hm_the_queen_2Her Majesty the Queen addressed Parliament today. Herewith a few points.

It was mildly amusing to hear her address the room as "my Lords and members of the House of Commons", without using the words "ladies and gentlemen"! (But only mildly amusing.)

The speech – written of course by the Government – referred to the global economic downturn, thus seeking to embed the idea that none of this is Labour’s fault. I like to think that this stuck in Her Majesty’s mouth a little.

The Government is planning a number of bills.

It wants to create "saving gateway accounts" for those on lower incomes. There were also nods to localism and welfare reform, but with absolutely no details (other than an indication that the latter would focus on people with disabilities). In fairness, there is very little time in a short speech about a comprehensive programme, but there will be a day of reckoning.

There was a promise of increased police accountability (perhaps inspired by Boris Johnson’s successful London Mayoral campaign which talked a lot about this issue), a "more effective, transparent and responsive" justice system and stronger border controls.

Her Majesty said that her adminstration wants to fight discrimination and pursue equality of pay for men and women. The goal of ending child poverty by 2020 was reaffirmed.

There is to be an NHS bill, which will enshrine a duty to take account of the new NHS constitution outlining the core principles of the service and the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff.

Education reform – to "promote excellence in all schools" and create a right for people at work to request time for training – was also on the agenda. So too was "constitutional renewal", which will apparently involve strengthening the role of Parliament and other measures. It seems likely that they will make things worse, given Labour’s track record on the constitution.

The Government is further seeking to put in place environmental protections for marine resources and bring in a "right of public access to the coastline", the latter of which is potentially worrying.

Her Majesty also stressed that her government was eager to cement relationships with the devolved administrations, Europe and NATO, and pursue peace and prosperity in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran’s nuclear threat was singled out, and the words "continued progress" were used about Iraq, which was fairly bullish.

In a reminder of her status as head of the established Church, the Queen ended by saying that she prays that "the blessing of Almighty God" may rest upon Parliament.

Tom Greeves, who wrote this post, worked for Boris Johnson on his Mayoral campaign.

8 comments for: Reflections on the Queen’s Speech

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