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Not the Queen's Speech

Nick Robinson | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 18 November 2009

"My Lords, and members of the House of Commons. My government's over-riding priority is to win a fourth term in office.
 
"My government shall bring forward legislation to highlight the big choice facing one's subjects.
 
"A Bill shall be introduced to guarantee high-quality state education and to allow my ministers to suggest that anyone who opposes such Bills shall be in favour of the few and not of the many."

The QueenIt is always amusing to see what language the incumbent party's spin doctors can slip into Her Majesty's speech without the Royal courtiers vetoing it. They are unlikely, however, to succeed in going quite as far as the mythical extract above.

Ministers insist that they are enacting the people's priorities. Their opponents insist, just as vehemently, that those ministers are electioneering. They may, of course, both be right.

Labour believes that the public wants new laws to guarantee better school standards, to give free personal care to those in greatest need still able to live at home and to strengthen banking regulation. They can point out that proceeding with a flood and water management bill is hardly naked politicking.

Their political foes will point out that laws as gestures or aspirations - promising to halve the deficit, to halve child poverty and to give every child a legal right to good schooling - are worth little more than the paper they're written on.

One thing's clear. Soon, you'll have the chance to vote on who's right.

Comments

Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    Quite correct Nick. This Queen's Speech is all about staying in power. They have no idea how to move the country forward. They just do not want to relinquish power.

  • Comment number 2.

    Gordon's entire time in office has been built on aspirations... for him to be PM..

    He doesnt give a tinkers cuss what he has to promise to who so long as he has his butt on the throne.

    Doesnt mean he's going to follow up on any of it and make it happen.

    What to worry about with Brown is the stuff that he goes off and does WITHOUT telling you... like signing Lisbon, for a start!

    "halving the deficit" by spending more?? Hahahah...

    "Halving child poverty"? When they havent achieved that in over 12 years, he's going to do it inside 6 months??

    The paper on which the promises are written is almost certainly worth an awful lot more than the promises themselves.

    The man is a joke and an unfunny one at that.

  • Comment number 3.

    Nick, that's an odd introduction, one might even say' it conforms to mockery and Cromwellism.

    Prorogation and the Queen speech to reopen parliament itsn't exactly new to us! is it?.

    I seem to remember that it was the conservative party that blocked Robin Cook's bill to reform parliament, again the complainers are complaining against their own complaints.

  • Comment number 4.

    Seems to me that this is a party political broadcast on the cheap.
    I expect to see more of this to come as the general election gets closer.
    If there's a way to campaign and have taxpayers pay for the privilage you will see it in the next few months!

  • Comment number 5.

    How much does the opening of parliament cost the nation. Would the money not be better spent on health care etc.
    What a waste of public money on Labour spin!!!! Shame on you Brown.

  • Comment number 6.

    Bit of a PR coup for Labour methinks. Getting Her Majesty to make their first Party Political Broadcast of the Election campaign.

  • Comment number 7.

    Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The key message is the same as with every Queen's Speech, this is about governing, it's not about electioneering."

    He added: "It will be for the public to judge whether they believe these policies are relevant, achievable and affordable."

    **********

    If you are referencing the Public judging whether policies you announce are "relevant, achievable and affordable", then it's electioneering. Plain and simple.

    Mandy's obviously gone off-message with this gaffe. Wonder whether Gordy will demand he retract (or in their terms, 'explain') in a follow on briefing.

    Although this does have a mirror in yesterday's announcement about Afghanistan - Gordon Brown is saying whatever he likes, because it's a win-win: if he's believed, there's a chance to win the Holy Grail of a 4th term. If Labour lose the election, then he's legally compelling the Tories to fix his screw-ups, with the hope that in 5 years time, Labour get to inherit a far better economy.

    Phillip802 (#1) and Fubar (#2) are spot on.

  • Comment number 8.

    Derek's up early today.... Time for another spoiling attack....

    Ho hum.

  • Comment number 9.

    Lord Fontilroy or whatever the Tory leader in the Lords is called, says they are going to block it all anyway. Presumably they don't want to be saddled with a requirement to halve the debt. And as for child poverty, when did that ever matter to the Tories? Get back up the chimney.

  • Comment number 10.

    its a shame that the ruling monarch is being used as a puppet of a government that deserves it not.
    the way our government has chopped into the house of lords to pack it with yes members removing hereditary peers etc.
    thus sadly the queens speech is more than likely the mandelson spin speech or one of those other spin merchants of neu-labour sent to be read by her majesty.

  • Comment number 11.

    3 Derek.

    Prorogation and The Queens Speech to open Parliament isn't new. However, using the reigning Monarch to deliver an election speech in favour of any party, let alone the incompetent incumbents is not only new, it's a new low.

  • Comment number 12.

    Mandleson next job is to take over the role of the Queen. Yes you heard it here first.

  • Comment number 13.

    9 LaughWithTheTories.

    I'm sure that the Conservatives are concerned about a LEGALLY BINDING requirement to halve in 4 years, when thet don't yet know the extent or cost of everything Labour is spending on. Way more accurate than saying they don't care about the deficit. I suggest you listen to Cameron instead of trying to ridicule the man with childish epithets.

  • Comment number 14.

    It is ridiculous in this day and age we still have an archaic queens speech. It is nothing to do with the queen it is writing by the government why is it not called "The governments speech spoken by a queen with absolutely no proper power.

  • Comment number 15.


    Your post is politically spot on today Nick. I take my hat off to you.

    I'm also pleased to see BBC Online News using the headline "Queen to set out Brown programme", so voters are left in no doubt about the motives behind the 'speech'.

    This shameful charade of New Labour's 'Queen's Speech' is both an insult to the public and total waste of time.

    What galls me is that the Queen is being used as an election pawn in a shameless party political broadcast to parliament.

    Do voters really have to stomach six more months of this party politicking?

    http://theorangepartyblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/queen-uses-as-election-gimmick-pawn.html

  • Comment number 16.

    Great post, Nick. The first paragraph really says it all.

    Just one thing: I understand that Harriet has claimed that most of the bills in the Queen's Speech will pass into law before the election. Any thoughts on that?

    I trust that, once parliament has been dissolved for the election campaign, you will report back to us on just how many of the bills have been enacted and how that compares with the proportion that they promised, in the spirit of one of the "pledge check" articles that appear on the BBC from time to time.

  • Comment number 17.

    I love the BBC news headline "Queen to set out Brown programme."

    About sums it up.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    "It is ridiculous in this day and age we still have an archaic queens speech"

    Better to have something to look forward to than nothing.
    I reckon royalty is value for money. Discuss.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    # 14. At 11:14am on 18 Nov 2009, PalusKeg wrote:
    "It is ridiculous in this day and age we still have an archaic queens speech. It is nothing to do with the queen it is writing by the government why is it not called "The governments speech spoken by a queen with absolutely no proper power.""

    Awww, come on. We have to give her SOMEthing to do other than showing off her hats and giving those regal waves from the back seat of a car. The Queen's speech is her only chance to practice with the crown these days. They love ritual, queen and brown alike. It gives order to their day...

  • Comment number 22.

    8

    I'm going to go with the ignoring approach today, I think its a lot easier. Although arguing with him does make the work day go a little bit faster.

    Nicks got it right there though, the spin that they are going to try and get through is going to be huge. Do they ever release extracts of what they didn't put in?

  • Comment number 23.

    3#

    You mean Robin "ethical foreign policy" (hahahahahaha) Cook???

  • Comment number 24.

    @ West_London_Willy, post #12;

    "I'm sure that the Conservatives are concerned about a LEGALLY BINDING requirement to halve in 4 years, when thet don't yet know the extent or cost of everything Labour is spending on."

    Sorry? Did I miss something? In what way is the Queen's Speech - or indeed, anything promised in a party-political broadcast - a "Legally Binding" requirement...?

    Having trouble working out exactly what you're talking about here, I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 25.

    What was it Phoney, I mean Tony, said in 1997? Ah yes, of course, it was that catchy little mantra 'Education, Education, Education'. He'd have been just as well to have said 'Sausages, Sausages, Sausages' for all the good it's done us as a nation. Ditto every other vacuous promise this bunch have tried to hoodwink us with. As a swansong after 12 years 'hard labour' maybe they could bow out with 'Incompetence, Incompetence, Incompetence'. Adios Gordon!

  • Comment number 26.

    9#

    I dunno mate, I dont think thats going to be a job that anyone is going to relish... reminds me of the old joke about the three scientists, the pig, the monkey and the cork.

  • Comment number 27.

    Nick

    As I recall the 1996 John Major Queen's Speech, a similar few months ahead of the 1997 election, it included an uncontroversial draft bill for an ID card based on Driving licences. What a shame that electoral failure meant that they weren't allowed to carry through such a wonderful mainstream Tory policy......

  • Comment number 28.

    I loved listening to Evan tear into Lord Volde-Mandelson this morning.

    The point they still don't get, is that making promises and giving guarantees is a waste of time.

    Finally I think the message is getting through to the electorate as well.

    'Hang on - didn't they promise this in the last queens speech and they didn't do it!'

    What is the point of a guarantee when there is no penalty for not achieving it!

    I say - make the guarantee and then say Our government promises to repay personally from the pocket of our MP's, every penny wasted in not achieving it.

    Give us a guarantee that means something. The last 12 years were a failure by government, I want a refund.

  • Comment number 29.

    Given that no parliament can legally tie the hands of a subsequent parliament (as the subsequent parliament can simply repeal the laws they don't like), this year's Queen's speech is completely pointless.

    Firstly they won't have the time to put any of the laws through the commons/lords/process in time before the election.

    Secondly most of the laws they do pass would simply get revoked/repealed if the tories get in.

    It reminds me of the ID card shambles. Labour are still spending oodles of money on it and trying to convince people to buy an ID card, despite the fact that both the tories and the libdems say to the public "I wouldn't bother spending your money if I were you, because we're going to bin the entire database/system if we get in".

    The governing party should take note of the timescales and potential repeals and admit defeat and call an election in a situation like this.

    Parliament is, until after the next election, going to be totally useless, just sitting there to banter to try and score election points.

    At a time when the economy is in crisis, and when the government says they want to reduce the deficit yet just seem to want to spend ever more money (if we don't have it, let's just print more, being their attitude), we can't really afford another 6 or 7 months of a Parliament which doesn't have the ability to actually do anything.


    "promising to halve the deficit, to halve child poverty and to give every child a legal right to good schooling - are worth little more than the paper they're written on."

    true; I could promise to do my best to win the lottery, but I probably won't win it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ministers insist that they are enacting the people's priorities. Their opponents insist, just as vehemently, that those ministers are electioneering. They may, of course, both be right.


    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    What Tory or Labour minister has EVER enacted the people's priorities since about, say, 1950?

    Good laugh though!

  • Comment number 31.

    Quite frankly I feel for the poor Queen having to deliver that drivel.

    We want an election and we want it now

  • Comment number 32.

    A very welcome speech and absolutely full of British promise.

    The Queen does deliver such an assuring tone and ring of confidence.


    Ubar! fubar! but somewhere in the crowd there's you.


  • Comment number 33.

    Hmmm! She seems to have missed out the bit about expecting to receive the PM at the Palace later this week asking her to dissolve Parliament. 8-)

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh dear @adamboulton tells us Twitter "BBC have built plush temporary studio on the green. Unfortunately our stand seems to be slap in the view from their bay window."

  • Comment number 35.

    It was once said of John Major and his Tories

    'They are in Government but not in Power'

    I'd suggest that for Nu Labour, they have ALWAYS

    'Been in Power but never in Government'

  • Comment number 36.

    Yes, a few more promises along the lines of "Labour will promise that we will all live happily ever after". Empty of detail and costings and more of the same that we've been getting for the last 12 years. Targets set and then missed (tennage pregnancy to be halved, millions spent, teenage pregancy rises, that sort of thing) to be replaced by more targets and more spending plans. Is it just me, but isn't irresponsible spending the main reason we're in this mess? Only Ireland in a worse situation out of the G20 nations (obviously I'll have to clarify that when I say Ireland is in a worse mess, I don't mean that in a racist way, purely economic).

    I'm looking forward to Gordon announcing that it is Labour's plans that all children will be above average intelligence and above average height by 2020.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'd like to see exactly how they plan to half our national debt in 4 years?

    We've had 12 years with labour in power and out debt has done nothing but rise steadily (well massively recently)

    They couldn't reduce it by hundreds of billions in 4 years......

    This is cheap electioneering. The BBC has got the headline right on this one (though it seems to have changed now....)

  • Comment number 38.

    32#

    Derek, a Deep Purple fan quoting Abba lyrics??? :-o


    (pssst... could probably have chosen a wiser one mate... d'ya remember the opening verse of that song?.... look.....)


    "I was sick and tired of everything
    When I called you last night from Glasgow
    All I do is eat and sleep and sing
    Wishing every show was the last show"


    How apt!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    The Queen @ zero

    "A Bill shall be introduced to guarantee high quality state education"

    if only it were so simple, Your Majesty

    please make polite inquiry as to HOW they're going to do that ... you know, how it's going to work

  • Comment number 40.

    The legal requirement to halve the deficit strikes me as Labour running the White flag up re the election. This is 'Scorched Earth', unless it is bull, and it never reaches the statute books.

    As Cameron han't yet really set the electorate on fire (the Tory rating simply reflecting the hatred of Labour) if he had a sense of humour, he should wait until the law is passed, then start saying that he and the Tories think Gordon should be allowed to continue to dig us out of the mess Brown caused. Although a hung parliament and a Labour Coalition is a possibility, I suspect the Tories will win next time, if that is likely, then include a Manifesto committment to introduce a law so that the person who produced the deficit would be jailed if it wasn't halved. Now wouldn't that make the next few months entertaining!

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Laughatthetories wrote:
    Lord Fontilroy or whatever the Tory leader in the Lords is called, says they are going to block it all anyway. Presumably they don't want to be saddled with a requirement to halve the debt. And as for child poverty, when did that ever matter to the Tories? Get back up the chimney."

    Of course the Tories won't want to be saddled with a requirement to halve the debt, if that was written into law the Government could go on a mass spending spree knowing that they won't have to pay it off.

    It is the political equivalent of walking into a club and pointing to someone behind you in the queue saying "He's paying for us"

    And as for Child Poverty - wasn't that something that Labour promised to fix? Obviously another promise they failed to live up to - nevermind they can just pass it onto the next Government.

  • Comment number 43.

    39#

    S'easy innit mate?

    They're going to outsource it to the private sector in a PFI deal with RBS providing the finance....

  • Comment number 44.

    24. At 11:41am on 18 Nov 2009, Khrystalar wrote:
    @ West_London_Willy, post #12;

    "I'm sure that the Conservatives are concerned about a LEGALLY BINDING requirement to halve in 4 years, when thet don't yet know the extent or cost of everything Labour is spending on."

    Sorry? Did I miss something? In what way is the Queen's Speech - or indeed, anything promised in a party-political broadcast - a "Legally Binding" requirement...?

    Having trouble working out exactly what you're talking about here, I'm afraid.

    ---------
    The BBC are claiming that Brown is to enact legislation to make it a legal requirement to halve the budget deficit within 4 years. I assume that is the problem, Mr Robinson hasn't mentioned it, it is in the main BBC news. Sadly I couldn't see if Brown will jail himself should he be in charge and fail to accomplish the said deed. Maybe we need a Tory amendment to the effect that Brown be jailed when the legislation comes before the house.

  • Comment number 45.

    "One thing's clear. Soon, you'll have the chance to vote on who's right."
    ===================

    Not soon enough though Nick, not soon enough.......


  • Comment number 46.

    Her Majesty looked as though she was pleased this was the last speech written by Brown that she will have to read out.

    I am sure her prayers will be answered and she will see a new fresh CONSERVATIVE government elected overwhelmingly to make her happy in the autumn of her life.

    And so say all of us....

  • Comment number 47.

    #38

    Ubar Fubar, where we going to find you!. LoL

    Gotcha! dontcha u just feel a bit embarrassed.

    Which part of the Queens speech will the tories endorse?.

  • Comment number 48.

    39 sagamix
    The Queen @ zero

    "A Bill shall be introduced to guarantee high quality state education"

    if only it were so simple, Your Majesty

    please make polite inquiry as to HOW they're going to do that ... you know, how it's going to work
    ===================================

    Good heavens, Saga you've seen the light at last - magnificent government statements with nothing at all to back them up ! It makes you wonder why they never thought of it before. Most have us saw through New labours approach years ago, but better late than never - even for you ! So glad you could join us !

  • Comment number 49.

    How on earth did our Monarch manage to get through the speech without cringing and shuddering?! What an embarassment for her!

    I am confused however. How does passing various laws ensure the halving of a budget deficit (and the rest)? It seems to me that instead of doing what they should have done, this government is trying to force the hand of the next one! A tactic of last resort, as is increasing the deficit by continuing to spend money we don't have. Is it my imagination, or is this a sort of 'scorched earth' policy?

    Just what would Labour do if they won the election and were subsequently bound by their own legislation? A deliberate attempt to tie the hands of the next government which would be hilarious if Labour won another term. Well, hilarious if the country wasn't in such a state.

    These proposed legalities shouldn't be needed-the actions should have been addressed already! A case of 'we'll make it law for the next government because we didn't do it'.

    What a ridiculous state of affairs!

  • Comment number 50.

    "Khrystalar wrote:
    @ West_London_Willy, post #12;

    "I'm sure that the Conservatives are concerned about a LEGALLY BINDING requirement to halve in 4 years, when thet don't yet know the extent or cost of everything Labour is spending on."

    Sorry? Did I miss something? In what way is the Queen's Speech - or indeed, anything promised in a party-political broadcast - a "Legally Binding" requirement...?

    Having trouble working out exactly what you're talking about here, I'm afraid."

    Simply put the Queen's Speech is a roadmap of what the Government wants to do over the next period, apparently one of the items in the Speech this year is to provide a "firm and binding statutory basis" for the government's promise to halve its budget deficit within four years."

    However, based on the polls at the moment the Government that will bring in a law requiring the Government to halve the deficit within four years won't be the Government that has to halve the deficit.

    The Government have indicated that they intend to bring it into law - however they haven't yet (and if the Lords have their way it is unlikely to get through - unless Gordon Brown decides to hand out enough peerages to force it through)

  • Comment number 51.

    > Andy its possible that some people would argue that Ireland have it worse in most ways, I mean a diet of Potatoes and Guiness can't be the most healthy.

    Life expectancy

    UK 76.5 (Male) 81.6 (Female)
    Ireland 75.6 (Male) 81.0 (Female)

    Is it really worth giving up potatoes and Guiness for 1 year (male) 7 months (female)?

  • Comment number 52.

    29. At 11:44am on 18 Nov 2009, getridofgordonnow wrote:

    "promising to halve the deficit, to halve child poverty and to give every child a legal right to good schooling - are worth little more than the paper they're written on."
    ----------
    I believe that halving child poverty is one pledge Gordon could achieve. As far as I am aware the method of calculating poverty relies on relative values of income, and I believe it has the oddest of corollaries, e.g. If Bill Gates moved to the UK and brought his entire fortune, Poverty would rise as measured by this method. So, anything that makes the UK poorer overall, is likely to actually mean the measure shows we have fewer poor. Maybe we have all misjudged Gordon, maybe he really does care for the poor and realised that this is the only way he could reduce their numbers?

  • Comment number 53.

    #41

    It's damned nice though!

    Although I tend to not bother with the spuds myself......

  • Comment number 54.

    24. At 11:41am on 18 Nov 2009, Khrystalar wrote:
    @ West_London_Willy, post #12;

    "I'm sure that the Conservatives are concerned about a LEGALLY BINDING requirement to halve in 4 years, when thet don't yet know the extent or cost of everything Labour is spending on."

    Sorry? Did I miss something? In what way is the Queen's Speech - or indeed, anything promised in a party-political broadcast - a "Legally Binding" requirement...?

    Having trouble working out exactly what you're talking about here, I'm afraid.

    ****

    Suggest you read the text then. In the announcements is a legal commitment to reduce the national deficit by half in four years. Nothing about "only if Labour are still in power".

    Please keep up, if only to avoid the need to restate the facts so that you understand what this was all really about....

  • Comment number 55.

    29. At 11:44am on 18 Nov 2009, getridofgordonnow wrote:
    Given that no parliament can legally tie the hands of a subsequent parliament (as the subsequent parliament can simply repeal the laws they don't like), this year's Queen's speech is completely pointless.

    --------
    So Cameron can bin the Lisbon treaty?

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick
    Higher school standards? 13 years ago Education education education.
    Free care at home? After 12 years in power OAP's still having to sell their homes to pay for care.
    Stronger bank regulation? To sort out the FSA as set up by Labour 12 years ago.

    Just a load of vote catching eye candy.

    No mention of the privetisation of Royal Mail? Thought that was dropped as there was insufficient time to get it through? Or is it because it's not a vote winner. Hmmmmmmmm I wonder!

  • Comment number 57.

    "41. At 12:19pm on 18 Nov 2009, calmandhope wrote:
    Andy its possible that some people would argue that Ireland have it worse in most ways, I mean a diet of Potatoes and Guiness can't be the most healthy."

    Oh dear, a gentle joke but based on a national stereotype. This means you MIGHT be a racist but that you won't even know if you are one or not yet. Apparently, how it works is that if the 'joke police' aka pdavies65 finds your joke funny you are NOT a racist but if not then you are.

    You must now await the verdict.

  • Comment number 58.

    "sagamix wrote:
    The Queen @ zero

    "A Bill shall be introduced to guarantee high quality state education"

    if only it were so simple, Your Majesty

    please make polite inquiry as to HOW they're going to do that ... you know, how it's going to work"

    Simple Labour will introduce the Bill, get kicked out at the next General Election and spend the next 5 years attacking the Tories for not meeting the guarantee.

    That way Labour don't actually have to have any idea about how they are going to do it!

    The Queen's Speech seems to have many proposals which would cost millions/billions to implement but also a proposal to half the deficit - where do Labour expect to find all the money to do this from?

  • Comment number 59.

    "DevilsAdvocate wrote:
    The legal requirement to halve the deficit strikes me as Labour running the White flag up re the election. This is 'Scorched Earth', unless it is bull, and it never reaches the statute books."

    I keep thinking of the old game show "Name that Tune", Labour and the Tories keep trying to outdo each other to get elected and if this comes in I agree with you that Cameron should just turn around and tell Brown to "Name that Tune"

  • Comment number 60.

    46.Flamethrower:

    Her Majesty looked as though she was pleased this was the last speech written by Brown that she will have to read out.

    *******

    It's a wonder that she got through it at all. Can you imagine?

    "My Government will.... sorry, Prime Minister, is this next word 'introduce' or 'interdict'? I can't quite make it out. Oh, and while we are at it, my name is Liz, not Les...."

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    The problem is that it doesn't matter who's right or which of the two so called main parties you vote for, we will still be in a new version of the same mess in 4 years time! Until we have a system that encourages and sticks to long term strategies for Health, Education, Transport, Environment etc we are going to continue to head down the same chaotic path. I am dreading either the Conservative or Labour parties getting into power again, it's like the movie Groundhog Day. We all vote, another government red or blue gets in, all the hope fades fast, we go back to moaning about it, but don't worry we can vote them out at the next election, we all vote...
    It would be something if they tried to work together for the good of the nation but they all seem too concerned with their own interests and trying to belittle any ideas/policies 'the opposition may have'.
    I'm fed up with the lot of them and the ridiculous system we have to use to elect them.

  • Comment number 63.

    47#

    Shining like The Sun (!) Derek - I dont care which bits the tories endorse, I aint gonna be voting for them - and anyway, theres very little point endorsing Gordons wish list - Gordon knows these things are impossible to deliver on in the current climate, which is exactly why he has put them in the speech!

    Come on, think about it - the whole point was for him to set out dividing lines between him and the tories, to pack the thing full of populist crap - knowing full well that if Cam opposed it, he would then be able to say "what the leader of the opposition doesnt agree with blah, blah, but is prepared to give tax cuts to 3000 millionaires, etc etc, etc"

    Gordon has no intention of turning any of these things into law. The whole point was to set the public level of expectation high and challenge Cameron to follow or be denounced. You know that as well as I do.


    By the way Mods, if you're happy for Derek to use copyrighted material, in two posts, 47 and 32, you can release my 43, otherwise, remove all three please. Or are you endorsing one house rule for the left and another one for everyone else?

  • Comment number 64.

    strictly @ 48

    "So glad you could join us"

    wouldn't go quite that far! - but it's true I'm far more anti Conservative than I am pro New Labour and Gordon Brown - thought everyone knew that, no?

  • Comment number 65.

    Nothing that Labour 'promises' can ever be relied on.

    This deceitful government reneged on a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on the European constitutional treaty but, as we know, Brown crept in the back door and signed away our rights without any mandate to do so.

    Why should we believe anything they say now?


  • Comment number 66.

    WunnyBabbit I wasn't aware there was that little in it. Out goes the cider and in comes the guiness!

  • Comment number 67.

    I had to feel sorry for H.M. the Queen having to sit there in all her robes and finery, having to read this load of old tosh!
    I have to admire her. I think on this occasion more than any other time her experience and composure won through. I'm not sure but I did detect a sigh from her as she read through 'her government's wish list'.
    I can't help feeling that at the back of her mind she's thinking "Did I really get dressed up in all this, just to read this load of old rubbish?"

  • Comment number 68.

    This speach is pure electionering - only I see it as the opening shot of the 2015 general election.
    It is clear that Labour have given up hope of winning in 2010 and are just seeking to provide some points which they can point to the next government as having failed on much as they have spectacularly failed.

    Such contempt of the democratic process plumbs new depths from the current Labour party as if they hadn't done enough to damage it.

  • Comment number 69.

    I thought the budget deficit was due to the worldwide recession and not Gordon's fault so how is he now going to guarantee to half it.

    He must think we're stupid.

  • Comment number 70.

    61#

    Some of the rest of us wondered whether Mr Whelan gets the same tip-off - particularly after last weeks shenanigans with THAT late night recorded phone call....

  • Comment number 71.

    It was truly painful to see that awful smile on Brown's face as he was leaving. Here is a man who has spent twelve years in power, and has been responsible for almost all that has happened to us over that period. In my view most of it has been as awful as his smile, but he keeps plugging on seemingly wondering if anybody out there has noticed.

    The only bright spot is that had he shown the guts needed when he had a chance to go to the country in September 07 he probably would have won and been in power until Autumn 2012. A frightening thought, but also a saving grace in what will be seen as one of the very worst Premierships in my lifetime. Right up there with Anthony Eden. We were saved from more Brown by Brown himself. Poetic.

  • Comment number 72.

    One thing I would like to see enacted and written intolaw; the binding requirement on any sitting Government to hold a general election within 12 months of a change of leader, to provide the new, unelected Prime minister with a working mandate to implement legislative change.

    If we'd had this, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now.

  • Comment number 73.

    It was too much to see Her Majesty going through the splendid ceremony of the opening of parliament and then hearing her read a speech that appeared to have been written on the back of a stamp.

    Much ado about nothing unfortunately.

  • Comment number 74.

    #9 laughatthetories wrote:
    "Presumably they [the Tories] don't want to be saddled with a requirement to halve the debt."

    Labour are not promising to halve the (accumulated) debt, only to halve the (annual) deficit.

    So if this year's deficit turns out to be 200 billion then Labour will be borrowing 100 billion in four years time and the UK debt will still be rising by 100 billion a year. Our annual interest payments will continue to rise from the projected level of 65 billion per year, and possibly more if the cost of servicing this debt rises. A pessimistic forecast would see the UK borrowing 100 billion a year just to service its inherited debt obligations.

    On the last forecast I read the UK's financial debt will not be reduced to a sustainable level until 2035. No doubt by now this date has moved out further into the future.

  • Comment number 75.

    Perhaps we need a new Law: If a government writes a Queen's Speech within 12 months of its end-of-term, the main opposition parties should be entitled to present alternative QSs.

  • Comment number 76.

    Who made the Tory loving Nick Robinson the political high priest. I notice he always pretends to be neutral but always avoid calling the Tories out on ANYTHING. Never have I heard him ask for what the tories will do and demand an answer. What kind of closing statement is "who do you want to be writing the next queen's speech? Brown again or David Cameron". Why not in include the Queen among the options if it is a personality contest. The media and Nick Robinson know labour ideas will beat Tory ideas any day so they go after the person of Gordon Brown. The world is running away from Tory like governments while this country is sleep walking into one.

  • Comment number 77.

    I dismiss the whiny opposition dismissal as pointless political posturing. Instead of whinging about labour please tell us something positive that you have to offer.

  • Comment number 78.

    I hope that their guarantees last slightly longer than the new fangled low energy light bulb I have been forced to buy by the inept EU, and the UK poodle government. Two year warranty on the packet and the lightbulb expired 3 seconds after it was inserted in the socket! More cheap junk from China....

  • Comment number 79.

    #63

    Fubar, to be fair the more I read your posts the clearer it gets.
    Your like that distant echo boarding a faraway train, bound for nowhere land.

    It's all to play for at the next General Election and we have the contrasting choice of black and white.

    The labour party offer hope and continued support for the majority, while the tories offered a bleak out look, of savage cuts and austerity.

  • Comment number 80.

    To comments 9, 37 and 42
    Brown’s plan is to halve the deficit (ie we will still be borrowing £90bn per year), not to halve the debt. Hard to believe though it may be, Labour has no plans to reduce the national debt, and debt continues to grow right until the end of the government’s forecasts.
    I wonder if part of Labour’s strategy is to talk about huge reductions to the deficit and hope that a chunk of the voting public mistakes this for debt reduction. They certainly haven’t gone out of their way to clarify this point.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm deeply intrigued by this bit about a "legally binding" requirement to halve the budget deficit within 4 years.

    Let's say for the sake of argument that it become law before the election.

    In what sense is it legally binding?

    For one thing, the next government could repeal it, could they not?

    For another thing, what would the consequences be if the deficit isn't halved within 4 years? Would the entire cabinet be sent to prison? Would they have to pay for the deficit out of their own pockets? Or would there, in fact, be no consequences whatsoever? And if there are no consequences, then how is it legally binding?

  • Comment number 82.

    @60

    Classic, but I sadly fear it will fall foul of the joke police.

  • Comment number 83.

    Cromwell welcome to the fold, as we apparently have a new stooge do I take it that Derek is leaving us?

  • Comment number 84.

    Yes, we will soon have the chance to vote - I cannot wait!

  • Comment number 85.

    38 Fubar

    Thank you my friend , its Glasgow.

    I have only ever heard Tesco and doubted it was right.

    On the main event I hoped in my wildest dreams that the Queen would say I am not reading this tosh and you are all out!

    Perchance to dream eh ?

  • Comment number 86.

    Education, Healthcare, Public Order. All the old political footballs. Shame Gordon's Scottish cos we know how their recent soccer record reads.

    Legally binding waiting times sounds great but is impossible for hospitals to deliver ebcause there will always be outliers and there are always ways to "improve" waiting lists.

    Schools have got progressively worse under Tony "Educationx3" Blair. You don't need a bill to introduce report cards. Just, erm, intriduce report cards. It's a manifesto speech and Labour are manipulating the system. that's not like them(!).

    Nope. Most of the stuff in the Breen's speech can, with the right political will, be achieved without the need for new legislation. This is just a case of Nulab saying to the Tories "This is what we say we want to do, let's see if you can do it better." No implementation time. I can guess which one they will want to rush in - the legally binding repayment of debt. That will saddle Cameron with a headache.

    Say what they like - they can't win the election with soundbites.

  • Comment number 87.

    77 dhwilkinson

    "I dismiss the whiny opposition dismissal as pointless political posturing. Instead of whinging about labour please tell us something positive that you have to offer."

    I dismiss your dismissal of our dismissal and I whinge at your whinging about our whinging.


  • Comment number 88.

    "derekbarker wrote:

    The labour party offer hope and continued support for the majority, while the tories offered a bleak out look, of savage cuts and austerity."

    Isn't that the point though - Labour could be offering to give us all a million pounds but do they actually have the ability to do it?

    The distinction seems to be between a Labour party who seem to have no concept of just how bad things are and other political parties who actually have a concept of reality (the Tories aren't the only party who realise that cuts need to be made)

    Labour can offer hope all they want but if they give us no indication of how exactly they will meet their promises those of us who are not naive or foolish will just think they are trying to blow smoke up our a**es.

  • Comment number 89.

    I've just spotted an interesting little bit of small print: apparently the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill will allow peers to resign their peerages.

    Could this, perchance, have anything to do with Lord Voldemort's ambitions to return to being an elected politician?

  • Comment number 90.

    A law which makes it mandatory to half the deficit is interesting. Firstly, which of the first 3 years will be taken as the one to reduce by half. Secondly, any new Governement could repeal the act.

    Could work in Cameron's favour. Sorry, had to cut services etc because of a law that labour enacted.

  • Comment number 91.

    I'm sure that the Government will do all in its power to push through the bills that it wants to force through, especially if it will cause problems for the Conservatives come June.
    No doubt Mandy will move heaven and earth to see the constitutional reform bill go through just so that he can be parachuted back into the Commons coutesty of a very safe Labour seat (despite his protestations to the contrary.
    David Milliband may just have wished that he'd gone for the Europe job!
    Ah-well - whoever said that the Labour party was democratic?

  • Comment number 92.

    Most people see Labour's legally binding commitment to reduce the deficit to be a political trap for the Tories, but I don't see this myself.

    If the Tories do win the election they will have to take action to cut the deficit, and they can point to Labour's legislation as indicating Labour's support for the policy.

    I think the commitment is:
    a) an attempt to reassure the financial markets that the UK Government is serious in its plan to reduce the deficit (less the UK's credit rating is downgraded and the cost of servicing our debt increases)
    b) an attempt to meet the G20 and IMF's insistence on a country by country exit strategy from the global fiscal stimulus.

    I suspect that the UK's credit rating is being maintained by a market expectation of a Labour defeat at the next election.

  • Comment number 93.

    I am no stooge to anyone. I just think that people asking for a Tory government should be careful about what they are asking for. Thatcher and Reagan laid the foundations many on the woes that we still recovering from. The US was complacent and the got Bush for the it. Cameron is practically laughing his head off whenever he makes a speech because he knows that the media is doing the real job of getting him elected. Trust Cameron he is a media expert... Really.

  • Comment number 94.

    Just remember that 'halving the budget deficit' is an aim at reducing the deficit from £200 billion to £100 billion in 4 years. Assumining reductions are spread equally.

    2009 : £200 billion
    2010 : £175 billion
    2011 : £150 billion
    2012 : £125 billion
    2013 : £100 billion

    Total increase in National Debt : £750 billion (and still rising)
    Of course if the Tories reduced the 1st anmount by £25 billion and then made an extra £5 billion a year the 'savings') woiuld amount to £75 billion

  • Comment number 95.

    "Ministers insist that they are enacting the people's priorities."


    If they were enacting the people's priorities they would be dissolving parliament and calling an election, not going through this charade. All the people currently want is to get shot of this useless, dishonest, incompetent bunch and start sorting out the mess they have created.

  • Comment number 96.

    85#

    indeed xt, its all becoming a rather sad parody. An unfortunate turn for the supposed Mother Of All Parliaments...

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    Seems that the Tories only stance on the speech is their complain that its political. OF COURSE ITS POLITICAL. They always are and always will be – that’s the point of them.

    The Tories do not want children, families, agency workers to have rights. Therefore they cannot comment on these policy areas as it will expose their ideology towards children, families and agency workers ; so instead they can only ramble on about the messenger not the content of the message.

    Furthermore the Tories have already postulated their intent to block these bills - In the Lords by unelected Tory peers, how democratic is that.

  • Comment number 99.

    derekbarker wrote:

    The labour party offer hope and continued support for the majority, while the tories offered a bleak out look, of savage cuts and austerity.




    eees a card ineee!




  • Comment number 100.

    "xxxcromwell wrote:
    I am no stooge to anyone. I just think that people asking for a Tory government should be careful about what they are asking for. Thatcher and Reagan laid the foundations many on the woes that we still recovering from."

    Even if Thatcher laid the foundations it was Labour that built the house. If you build your house from straw it doesn't matter how solid the foundations are a strong wind will rip it apart.

 

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