The Queen’s Speech, drafted in deathlessly trite prose by civil servants and special advisers, should – and occasionally does – rise to the challenge of setting the national agenda. This one was flat all the way through.
- There was nothing about countering austerity, allowing hard-working people to share in the recovery with a proper wage increase.
- There was nothing about rebalancing the economy from the City to industry to create decent jobs and a sustainable livelihood.
- There was nothing about warding off the risk of another financial crash or tackling continuing banking scandals.
- There was nothing about the revival of manufacturing to erode the massive inflow of imports rising year after year.
- There was nothing about reversing grotesque inequalities in income and wealth, or making the super-rich pay for the economic/financial breakdown and extended recession that they largely caused.
- There was of course nothing about redrawing the boundaries between State and markets even though the papers are filled almost daily with revelations of the greed, corruption, performance failures and poor service of the privatised and outsourcing companies.
Who did Cameron think he was taking in in the panglossian eulogies he splurged to the Commons in response to the Queen’s Speech about the state of the country?
- The profound structural problems of Britain preceded his election in 2010, but they have all deepened on his watch.
- The UK manufacturing base has been further hollowed out.
- We are increasingly vulnerable because of out-of-control debt – household debt which is now half as large again as our national income, financial debt is now more than 3 times our total GDP, and the national debt is now tipping £1.3 trillion.
- Inequality has exploded and social mobility has fossilised.
- Many of our strategic national assets have either been privatised or sold off abroad, as Cameron and Osborne still wanted to do in selling off AstraZeneca.
- We are no longer able to pay our way in the world since in every year under this government our traded goods have been in deficit by more than £100bn a year.
- Corporate over-dominance is now fast eroding our democracy.
- UK income growth per head has almost halved in the 30 years of free market capitalism since 1980 compared with the 30 years of State-managed capitalism before.
This Queen’s Speech was a whimper from the margins. What is desperately needed is a roar from the Left to transform this century-long decline of Britain and a real Labour government to supplant the last 35 years of Conservative and pseudo-Conservative rule which has dragged Britain down further.
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