A broad collection of policies and promises of legislation, sprinkled with miniature expressions of ideology, the political rarity of the age, was presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Commons on the 27th of May.
The Conservative government intends to work in the interests of all people in the country, continuing the “long-term plan” that has been constantly mentioned by the Conservatives over the last five years. They promise not to raise specific taxes like VAT and income tax, reform welfare (including capping benefits) and helping small businesses create jobs with deregulation. Nationally the government will devolve more powers to Scotland and Wales; internationally the government will be a strong member of NATO, “maintain pressure on Russia” and seek those infamous “negotiations” with the European Union as well as host a referendum before the end of 2017. Socially, the government will ban “the new generation of psychoactive drugs” – legal highs, as they are known.
As we see from the Speech, the Conservative government is fulfilling plenty of the promises made by the Prime Minister and his colleagues in the Conservatives’ campaign. It’s evident that the Conservatives are happy to be free of their coalition partners, as many of the ideas that the Liberal Democrats vetoed have appeared in some form in the Queen’s Speech.
But what isn’t clear from the Speech are many of the numbers, figures and statistics for which people are crying out, especially just where and how much the dreaded welfare cuts will be. All answers will most likely be revealed in the Chancellor’s next budget. Also missing in the Speech are some ideas such as the decision to abolish the Human Rights Act; all we know is that this government will create a British Bill of Rights. Some say that the Conservatives are at war with each other over whether scrapping the Human Rights Act is a good deed – the Prime Minister must appease his more right-wing backbenchers, as well as win back the favour of those of the electorate who voted for UKIP or other right-wing parties in the recent election.
The Prime Minister championed the Speech, arguing that the Conservatives had rescued a Great Britain that had been hampered by a pathetic economy, and were now ready to turn the rescue into a period of prosperity; the Labour leader, Harriet Harman MP, said that the country faces a “fragile future”.
The full transcript of Her Majesty’s speech can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2015