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Daily View: The Queen's speech

Clare Spencer | 10:21 UK time, Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Commentators discuss the details of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday which outlined the government's plans for the new Parliament.

To see how the press covered the event, see the BBC Newspaper Review.

In the Guardian Simon Jenkins defends the proposals in the Queen's Speech:

"The Queen's speech and pre-announced cuts will cleanse only the most fouled of Labour's stables. Illiberal registers, databases, inspectorates and regulatory quangos typified the regimes of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and obsessed such control-freak ministers as David Miliband and Ed Balls. Disbanding these bodies meets the libertarian spirit of Tories and Liberals, saving money and freeing frontline administration. To deplore this as a savage assault on the welfare state is ludicrous."

Ex-Labour party employee Hopi Sen gives a word of warning in his blog about the planned council funding cuts:

"You are going to get the almighty shaft. Here is Eric Pickle policy prescription for you: No increase in Council tax, freedom to choose your own priorities. Over a billion pounds less to spend. You do the sums. Yup, in this brave new age of devolution and local power - it's all going to be your fault. I hope to come back to this because it's important."

Alice Thomson argues in the Times that capital gains tax changes announced in the speech hurt "citizen stockbrokers" who are the backbone of Tory support:

"They are the people that Mr Cameron should be talking about when he lays out his Queen's Speech extolling responsibility. They are the ones who volunteer, who donate money to charity, who believe in the family and standing on their own two feet. They are the jam in the coalition's Big Society sandwich. 
The Prime Minister knows them well. His father was a stockbroker, his mother a magistrate. Many of them live in Tory shire constituencies, and their children work in Central Office. Yet the new coalition Government has clobbered them. Most of them wouldn't mind paying more VAT; they understand the need to tackle the £163 billion deficit. But now they may be asked to pay 40 or 50 per cent in capital gains tax, an increase of at least 22 per cent on savings that have already been taxed. 
This pledge was never mentioned in any Conservative manifesto. The Tory grass roots are baffled."

Also in the Times, Peter Riddell says that the coalition is trying to do too much:

"At the core of the Queen's Speech is the paradox that an administration committed to the priorities of deficit reduction and reining back the power of the State has produced a programme of unprecedented legislative activism. Nearly two dozen Bills, half of them important, were announced. 
"They seek to reshape the economy, welfare, the NHS, schools, policing, local government, financial services, pensions and the political system. Most would have featured even if there had been a Conservative majority administration. But the creation of the coalition has added to the total."

The Independent's Andrew Grice observes a suspected tension in the coalition during the speech:

"Mr Cameron has said he hopes the coalition will succeed by its success. In other words, that it will win over doubters in both parties and among the public, although the early evidence is that people rather like the idea of parties co-operating rather than scoring points off each other. 
"Sitting alongside each other on the government benches yesterday, Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs somehow did not look like comfortable bedfellows - unlike their two leaders on the front bench. A lot of hard pounding lies ahead if the coalition is to prove a success."


In the Financial Times John Lloyd analyses
[subscription required] what the proposals mean for those who are ideologically centre-left politicians:

"Philosophically, the coalition partners have united in opposition to the "big state": the Lib Dems, who in seemingly permanent opposition were able to hedge between local and civic power on the one side and state provision on the other, have in joint government come down on the side of the former. The state on which Beveridge and Keynes relied for their prescriptions, and to which the first social liberals - Thomas Green, Leonard Hobhouse and John Hobson - also looked, now appears to be seen as more leviathan than liberator, by liberals as well as conservatives. 
"Yet we are living through a paradoxical political moment. A centre-right coalition governs a country that in many respects is in a left-of centre mood, hostile towards the bankers it blames for the financial crisis and resentful of the austerity that must ensue. The future of David Cameron's government will depend on how it negotiates that paradox."

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