Alternative Queen’s Speech

Here is an Alternative Queen’s Speech – the things that I’d have liked to hear from the Queen in the House of Commons today and what I’d have asked Her Majesty to say if I were the Prime Minister.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons, my government will work in the year ahead for the wellbeing of the people of this country. It shall continue to pursue economic prosperity but shall see this within the context of what may be identified as the common good.

My government will seek to reduce both relative and absolute poverty and seek to bring an end to the culture of Food Bank Britain. It will pay appropriate benefits to those in need in a timely fashion.

My government shall work towards a new constitutional settlement in order to bring stability to the nation. To this end, it shall prepare legislation which will be presented in Westminster if the referendum on Scottish Independence is not passed in September 2014. This legislation will set out a new constitutional framework for a federal United Kingdom with a written constitution establishing this nation’s sovereignty within the European Union. This will introduce a new parliament for England based in the city of York. It will abolish the House of Lords and establish a new honour of Royal Commissioner of the United Kingdom which all current members of the House of Lords will receive. Members of the new Royal Commission shall be called upon to give evidence according to their speciality during increased pre-legislative scrutiny for four parliaments in Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. The four parliaments shall act as unicameral assemblies in all matters excepting those relating to foreign policy, the constitution, the monarchy, registration of political parties, international trade, currency and economic policy, defence, energy policy, climate change issues, declarations of war and treason. These matters shall be the preserve of the House of Commons, entirely comprised of elected members from across the United Kingdom. If the people of Scotland reject the proposals for an independent Scotland in September 2014 then these new legislative developments will be put to all the people of this country in a referendum on 24 March 2016 and my government will seek cross-party support for them.

My government will reform the national curriculum in England in the light of best practise in all parts of this kingdom in order to empower teachers and set them free from red tape. The new curriculum will establish what should be taught in schools whilst leaving teachers free to teach those subjects to the best of their ability and according to their professional judgement.

My government will introduce legislation to disestablish the Church of England and will consult on the best way of preserving the positive ethos which exists in many church schools when those schools are given over entirely to local authority control.

My government will introduce legislation to ensure that charitable status is removed from all charities which discriminate on the basis of the Protected Characteristics of other equality legislation. For the avoidance of doubt, religious charities which campaign against other protected characteristics in terms of age, gender, sexuality etc will automatically lose their charitable status.

My government, mindful of the number of citizens who now live in single households will begin a consultation on extending the Equality Act by introducing protections for single people particularly in relation to the provision of goods and services in the travel and hospitality industries.

My government will introduce a new law of copyright which is fit for the digital age which will include reducing the terms of copyright.

My government will ensure that no public money is spent on reparative (or gay conversion) therapy.

My government will establish mandatory sex education in all schools in England and remove the requirement for religious assemblies in schools. Legislation will be introduced to place a statutary duty on schools to review procedures to ensure the prevention of homophobic bullying. My government will clarify the law to ensure that teachers who ignore such bullying can be prosecuted under the same legislation as other forms of child neglect.

My government will continue to allocate 0.7 % of GDP to overseas development and shall engage in a consultation about how this money might be best distributed to ensure that this country does not aid discrimination, violence or corruption.

My government will continue to raise the threshold for income tax. Alongside this, my government has recognised the need for tax measures to ensure a fairer distribution of wealth. To this end, my government will in the current year cut Value Added Tax by half, raising income tax in order to pay for this. The 50% band for income tax will be reestablished for all earning in excess of £100000 per year. My government will begin preparatory work for a further major tax reform by beginning a consultation on introducing a land value tax in order to replace Council Tax within the next 5 years. Furthermore my government will revive local government by removing all caps on revenue raising that have been imposed by central government.

My government will overhaul the laws on freedom of assembly and protest to ensure that all voices may be heard.

My government will reform the data protection laws beginning from the principal that all citizens are entitled to their own privacy.

My government will introduce proportional representation for all elections.

My government will abolish all University tuition fees.

My government will invest in research and development in Universities with the aim of establishing new generic drugs which will be free from pharmaceutical patents for the good not only of this country but for the wellbeing of the citizens of the world.

My government will establish and fund a new centre of expertise for open-source software and shall prefer to commission new public computer systems using such software.

My government will publish a national energy policy and invest in nuclear and renewable energy whilst outlawing fracking.

My government will raise the minimum wage to a new living wage.

My government is proud of the fact that it has introduced consolidated fares in the airline industry, ensuring that advertised fares include all booking fees and taxes. It will now introduce legislation to do the same for all arts productions, outlawing the practice of charging a separate booking fee on ticket prices.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

I pray that the blessing of the Eternal God may rest upon your counsels.

Politics Just Became More Interesting

There’s a lot of soul searching going on in the UK over the European Election results. Here’s my take on it all…

  • Those complaining most about the low turnout need to think about what they want to do in order to stop low turnout. The best thing to do is to join a political party and work to get people to the ballot box to vote for what you believe in.
  • Trouble is, I don’t find a party I want to belong to.
  • The above 2 points are the problem.  (Or at least, they are my problem with politics at the moment).
  • The media coverage from the BBC seemed particularly biased. I don’t like criticising the Beeb because I love it but it really did seem to have become the UKIP Broadcasting Corperation and I still can’t quite fathom why.
  • I don’t think I know a single person who has told me they were supporting UKIP. Now – is that because I’m in a little bubble and I genuinely don’t know anyone who votes that way or is it because voting that way is not socially acceptable?
  • Nick Clegg made a number of strategic errors in taking on Nigel Farrage in TV debates. Firstly it got Farrage even more coverage and allowed him to appear to be an equal when he wasn’t. Secondly Clegg failed to merge the UKIP and Tory brand. (People like me wonder whether he is opposed to the Tories at all – he just doesn’t come across as disliking what they stand for and someone in his position needs to be able to convey something a little stronger than dislike). Thirdly, he didn’t really do it well enough – die-hard party members were impressed by him but that’s not what the exercise is all about. Keep it Simple is still effective. (One of the posts that I had up recently which got lots of traction was about why I’m supportive of the EU because of mobile phone roaming, oh yes, and because we don’t tend to go to war in Western Europe with one another as once we did).
  • Policywise I hope that political parties concentrate on those who didn’t vote rather than those who voted UKIP.
  • I fear they won’t.
  • I was surprised that the SNP did not increase their share of the vote.
  • I wasn’t surprised that the Lib Dem vote collapsed.
  • I feel for the Greens who were struggling to get a word in edgeways. I kind of wish that I could vote Green but the trouble is, they’ve got their policies.
  • The Liberal Democrats are not going to do better until they have a change in leader and until there is obvious contrition. It is going to get worse before it gets better.
  • I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but I can’t take the leadership of the Labour Party in Scotland seriously.
  • Thank God there was no “Christian” party on the ballot paper.
  • Politics just got more interesting because people don’t know what it all means and don’t know what comes next.
  • That’s the best politics in the world.

You got your own take? Share it in the comments below.