Another Meaningless Speech?

David Cameron said the Queen’s Speech showed the government was “building a society that rewards people who work hard and do the right thing”. He stated that the coalition was “taking tough decisions to help families who work hard and do the right thing”. He said the speech was “packed full of great bills”, giving a strong defence of plans to extend the authorities’ power to access email and online communications. He thinks ” It is about a government taking the tough, long-term decisions to restore our country to strength,”

Ed Miliband states “For a young person looking for work, the speech offers nothing. For a family whose living standards are being squeezed, this speech offers nothing. For the millions of people who think the government isn’t on their side, this speech offers nothing.”

TUC General secretary Brendan Barber said the “incoherent” and “hotchpotch” speech would not create jobs or improve the economy.

My union’s General Secretary Len McCluskey states that on plans to make it easier for firms to sack workers, the government was “wrapping up a real attack on rights at work as good for growth and employment. It is a myth that stripping away employee rights will boost growth or create jobs,” he said. “This is no more than a bad boss’s charter that will make people insecure at work and will feed straight into lower consumer confidence. He thought the speech was “devoid of any hope or ideas of how to get the economy moving”. He said that plans to make it easier to sack people were “delusional” and “Taking away people’s rights in the workplace will create insecurity at work and hit consumer confidence. Along with a reduction in health and safety inspections, it gives a green light to ‘rogue’ employers,” he added.

David Cameron says he is looking after me. After all, I strive. I play by the rules. I work hard. I aspire. So what does the queen’s speech really mean for me?

The answer is very little on the positive side of things. Apart from a threatened attack on my employment rights (nothing new from the Tories), there seems little that really affects the average working person with a family in real time – and is more full of apparent vague promises and references to early day thinking.

One example of this draft thinking is seen with the reference to The House of Lords Reform Bill – not something that the Tories want hurried through but acts as a partly meaty bone (spare rib?) for their Lib Dem lap dogs. Although the background briefing on the bill does not include a timetable for making it happen the Lib Dems insist there has been no watering down of the commitment to shake up the Lords.

With the Lib Dems already having lost the referendum a year ago on shaking up the voting system for elections to the Commons, securing a legacy of permanent constitutional change is massive.

The biggest talk up of the day will be in relation to the Children’s and Families Bill which has the notion of giving parents access to “flexible parental leave”. This apparently will allow mothers and fathers to share child care responsibilities! Sounds almost too good to be true…that’s because it is. They are in reality only referring to maternity leave rather than flexible working hours. This has already shown to be a hot issue within the coalition and specifically refers to the right for parents to request flexible working, including being able to work fewer hours and job share.

And to the dismay of many no even a mention of gay marriage. Like Lords reform, this is an issue that Conservative backbenchers would definitely wish to steer clear from.

So, what did the Queen’s Speech mean for you?

Nick Clegg and David Cameron