Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Queen visits her palace in Westminster
So another Queens speech is delivered and our parliamentarians are told how they will busy themselves in the months to come.
But what both Clegg and Cameron want to convince us all of “it’s the economy, stupid.”
Yes, the duet says, important though the law making programme is, their main emphasis and priority still remains the economy.
Indeed so desperate are they to convince us that this is their highest priorities that they issued a joint statement saying "The primary task of the Government remains ensuring that we deal with the deficit and stretch every sinew to return growth to the economy, providing jobs and opportunities to hard-working people across Britain who want to get on."
Despite the gloss, no new initiative to generate growth was forthcoming. It’s more of the same. Cuts and no stimulus for growth.
The photo opportunity they held yesterday in a tractor factory, the last tractor production line left in the UK incidentally, was interesting not so much in its setting but in the language that was used. It was not an “austerity” programme it was all about “efficiency.”
But one man’s efficiency becomes another man austerity, PM.
So no change on the economy, so what can we expect.
Well, it looks as if Clegg gets his way on the reform of the House of Lords. But with Conservative back benchers getting stroppy on the matter it may not be a done deal and it is unlikely to get a smooth passage. It could be the issue that tears the coalition apart.
Reform of pensions and break up the banks to prevent a repeat of the financial crash also feature.
Last year’s Vickers report on the banks will be implemented so that the services provided by the High street bank to the public will be ring fenced from the bank’s more risky “casino” investment activities.
The pension reforms will see changes to the Public Service pensions. A bit of a thorny subject for the government who are already facing a series of strikes with public sector unions. Expect more of the same.
That’s not all, they’re raising retirement age for all to 67. So all over the age of 52 now will have longer to work. Provided they’re in a job, of course.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill overhauling employment tribunals and cutting inspections on businesses. The government see it as another attempt to cut back on “red tape” on business. Methinks that the unions will see it differently.
The Crime and Courts Bill, which amongst other things introduced an offense of drug-driving and modernised the court system and the process for appointing judges in England and Wales. So don’t take that spiff before you drive.
Another area that should get us all excited are the plans to increase surveillance of internet traffic. Beware what you say in your e-mails in future because someone will be reading it.
The official name for this charter for snooping is the Communications Data Bill, which could allow security agencies to access details of the time and origin of messages but not their content. “Not the content”, hmmm.
A Defamation Bill offers new protections for freedom of speech in England and Wales and a Justice and Security Bill will allow courts to hear evidence from security and intelligence agencies behind closed doors.
An Energy Bill will reform the electricity market across the UK to enable large-scale investment in low-carbon generation capacity, while a draft Water Bill aims to improve competitiveness and efficiency of the industry in England and Wales.
The other bills will mainly apply to England only.
All in all, plenty for coalition MPs to fall out over.