So, the Queens speech, a less formal than normal event, no formal royal robes, no horse drawn coaches, no mounted escorts and all that pageantry. The guards were all present, uniforms and pig stickers gleaming, but the rest was far more subdued. Almost as if her nibs was sending a message to her Prime Minister, something about not being worth the effort maybe.
Anyway, we have had the official pamphlet reading, and a pamphlet it was.
Ending free school dinners seems to have vanished.
The end of the pension triple lock, disappeared.
Means testing winter fuel, dementia tax (with or without a cap), grammar schools, repeal the fixed term parliament act, all gone without trace.
Fox hunting. nope, not here. Ivory, no sign of that one either. Caps on energy prices also nowhere in sight. How about reducing immigration to the tens of thousands? No mention of that, though given May and her Hard Brexit driving the economy over the cliff the numbers of people wanting to come to the UK to work is plummeting anyway.
It's almost as if anything that was unpopular during the election has been completely dropped, wait, aren't these the people who the right wing media and Tory MPs keep saying WON the election. Didn't they fight an election on all of these things in Theresa May's manifesto?
So what is in this TWO YEAR manifesto:
Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill
Nothing massive here, in fact this is hardly a manifesto issue, more a minor issue to easily wander through parliament on a slow day.
Space Industry Bill, Smart Meter Bill, Travel Protection Bill, Civil Liability Bill, Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, Goods Mortgage Bill, Courts Bill, Armed Forces Bill, and more.
Ditto. All important but spread over a two year parliament these are very minor indeed.
High Speed 2 Phase 2A Bill
Still rumbling along, such a good way to funnel the odd hundred billion quid in tax payers money into the pockets of private contractors.
National Insurance Contributions Bill
Legislate for the National Insurance contribution (NICs) changes announced in the 2016 Budget and the 2016 Autumn Statement.
The ones that were in the budget or the ones that were dropped afterwards due to complaints when the government U-Turned. However no mention of income tax here, just the mention a few days ago that the Tories will try to keep tax as low as possible. Corporation tax also absent from the queens speech.
Draft Tenant Fee's Bill
Ban charging tenants ‘letting fees’ to improve transparency, affordability and competition in the private rental market.
No mention of requiring landlords to make sure properties are FIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION though. No mention of sprinklers or fire safety review.
Deep and special partnership, with the Tories !
They keep saying this, but while I don't know about Europe I can say with certainty the thought of a 'Deep and Special Partnership' with the Tories horrifies me. As to how 'Deep' it will be with Europe, or how 'Special', well I think day one of the negotiations where the UK basically crossed all three of its red lines and gave the EU everything they wanted shows it certainly isn't going to be special in a good way.
High-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future.
At £9,000 per year that is. Who will be creating these high skill, high wage jobs, the rich people who get those tax breaks, or the companies who have legged it over to Europe because of Brexit. We are losing a LOT of high skilled jobs because a lot of research is moving over to Europe in two years, unless they mean jobs building those satellites and electric self drive cars.
Police and security services will have all the powers they need.
But they have power they don't use now, what they don't have a warm bodies. All those government statements about increased police presence means officers working 14 to 16 hour shifts, holidays cancelled, no days off in weeks. They are working themselves into the ground and when the police themselves are warning of more cuts all we get from the Government is denial there are any such cuts and empty promises of new powers.
Who exactly is going to enforce all the new powers when police forces have been reduced to not responding to half the calls they get now. Or will the quietly mentioned attempt to grant police powers to G4S to supplement the Police pop back up as we find swaths of our police replaced by private law enforcement.
Data Protection Bill.
Empowers individuals to have more control over their data, the right to be forgotten, data protection for the digital age. Does that include, I wonder, the right to know what data the security services hold on us, or the right to have such data forgotten?
New rules and laws for data retention for law enforcement, don't we have enough of those already, we can't trust the government to have the data on us they already do.
(No longer Great) Repeal Bill.
The wording change here so the bill will be adaptable to deal with whatever the Brexit deal turns out to be, oozing confidence about the Brexit deal Britain is going to secure. This is going to take a while, IF each law is individually examined, or the whole lot could just be passed into British law which means that taking back control and getting away from EU law, yea, that!
Customs Bill, Trade Bill, Immigration Bill, Fisheries Bill, Agriculture Bill, Nuclear Safeguards Bill, International Sanctions Bill.
All of these are to replace the rules and collective decisions the UK is guided by as part of the EU. None of them can be negotiated until Brexit is finished which means that any work done on them over the next 20 months is going to be potentially wasted because we have no idea what sort of a deal the EU will force on us (given Monday I honestly can't see us forcing any sort of deal on the EU).
So while some work can be done on these nothing can actually be sorted beyond the ground work prior to actually leaving.
Then we had a bunch of outright lies. More funding for schools, workers rights, more houses, infrastructure investment, alleviating poverty etc.
Oh and more reviews of counterterrorism efforts, more counter terror legislation, new powers for the security services, fighting extremism, countering global terrorism, online censorship (sorry reduce and restrict the availability of extremist material online) and a new government (Tory) committee for countering extremism but remember just how flexible the Tory definition of extremism is (anti frackers and hunt protestors).
What else is missing:
We as a nation will be hosting the King and Queen of Spain, lots of ceremony, honoured guests and all that. But this is a TWO YEAR Queen's speech, anyone hear anything about a Trump visit?
(Since the speech official statement is the Trump visit wasn't mentioned because the exact date hasn't been decided yet, nothing to do with Trump refusing to visit unless he gets those happy cheering crowds).
No mention of a couple of £Billion extra for Northern Ireland, given thats the current cost of DUP support, though I suspect that number will grow as the actual vote day gets closer.
Off Topic a bit but a few people seem to be missing as well: John Godfrey, head of policy at No 10, Theresa May’s joint chief of staff and long time key advisers – Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. Director of communications Kate Perrior, deputy at the policy unit Will Tanner, prime minister’s spokesperson Lizzie Loudon. This is basically President May's entire support team from 2016. What is it they say about sinking ships?
So we have had the Queens speech, done informally by the Queen in what is called day wear rather than formal robes. No state coaches drawn by horses, and was that blue hat with a circle of yellow stars the queen was wearing a not so subtle kick in the teeth?
A speech and a manifesto that is even shorter and more vague than the one they fought the election on mere weeks ago. "Thin and threadbare" it has been called. And one that is to cover two years rather than one. I'm not an MP but given that they are NOT directly involved in Brexit talks it certainly looks like they have a fairly quiet two years ahead of them. IF this handful of pages gets voted through.
STRONG AND STABLE MY FAT...