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The Not So Loyal Speech. A Monument To 13 Years of Labour Failure

When the General Election finally happens Labour will have been in power for 13 years. Labour was elected with a massive majority in 1997, they promised reforming zeal and delivered nothing.

Their legacy is one of a failed economy crippled by debt and unlikely to recover for many many years.

An acute housing shortage, deliberately encouraged to continue boosting house prices to beyond economic sense.

Spending billions on “cutting child poverty”, while creating a tax credit system with overpayments and debt built in.

Despite the real difficulties young people have as registering as unemployed the highest ever levels of youth unemployment.

American levels of student debt being accepted as a norm. Removing a ladder of opportunity from the poorest.

Public service waste because services became driven by performance indicators, not service delivery.

The Queen’s speech today reflected a manifesto of promises that Labour should have tackled years ago, not 6 months before an election.

The proposed bills stand not as a promise of a bright New Labour future but as a monument to Labour failure.

Bribery Bill
This if passed would make it illegal to bribe a foreign official to obtain or retain business. Furthermore, if businesses fail to prevent a bribe being paid by their employees or by other firms on their behalf an offence would be committed.

I guess that the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair and the “estranged” husband of Labour Minister Tessa Jowell are grateful that this bill was not on the books previously.

Child Poverty Bill
This will enshrine into legislation a promise that was so badly broken by Labour, their desire to end child poverty by 2020. It forces the government to make annual reports to Parliament on the success of its strategies to end child poverty. This bill owes NOTHING to the aim of ending child poverty, it simply reflects a demand from Labour campaigners to enshrine into law Labour policy. This bill is as meaningless as its aim.

Equality Bill
Again a complete monument to Labour failure. The gap between rich and poor has never been wider, but this bill would require the whole public sector a duty to “narrow the gap between rich and poor”. Departmental wide responsibilities tend to mean no one is responsible.

This bill would also ban age discrimination outside of the workplace – such as when buying goods and services like healthcare. Does this mean the end of SAGA?

Business with more than 250 employees would have to report on gender differences on pay.

Labour finally wakes up to the power the Government has as a customer, not by directing LAs to properly control the amounts spent on suppliers, but by forcing Public bodies to use their £200bn of public procurement power “drive equality” in private sector firms.

Fiscal Responsibility Bill
The title is NOT a joke. This would place into law the promise to halve the budget deficit within four years. Labour is still attached to the Neo Cons. Parliament would be able to approve medium-term fiscal plans. Again, something previously shrouded in secret under Labour, but now a requirement in law?

Children, Schools and Families Bill
This is yet another bill ignoring student poverty, something Labour made worse when they replaced the previous Tory mix of loans and grants with loans and fees. Not exactly something proised in the Labour manifesto and with public finances in a disastrous state, something that will now take generations to tackle.

This bill shows yet again the Labour Nanny approach to education, while attempting to portray it as parental rights. Labour have learned nothing from the failure of performance indicators, so to prove the point they are making these indicators – guarantees. Parents will have a right to nag schools if they do not deliver. The schools will be given report cards.

Teaching to performance standards is the reason why school children can pass a test, but know nothing of the subject they are taught.

We should of course be grateful that this bill promises “greater flexibility” for primary schools to set their own curricula.

It would set a requirement that all young people receive at least one year of sex and relationships education. Those children from religious backgrounds would not, as now be able to opt out. This may or may not be a good thing, but it is hardly more parental power.

Home educators will have to be registered and inspected.

Flood and Water Management Bill
The floods of 2007 caused £3bn of damage, this bill will pass the financial responsibility to Councils. Surface water flooding would become their legal responsibility.

Sustainable drainage systems will have to be considered for new building developments, this is nothing new. Existing Planning law could achieve that.

Further powers will be given to the water companies to control customers’ usage during droughts. Again another sop to the French Government Water Industry.

Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill
This would make it an offence to use, produce, develop, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer cluster munitions.
So why now when Labour has no time to dio anything? Why did they seek an exemption from a treaty ban in 2008?

The US and UK used nearly 13,000 cluster munitions containing an estimated 1.8 to 2 million submunitions in the three weeks of major combat. A total of 63 CBU-87 bombs were dropped by US aircraft between May 1, 2003 and August 1, 2006.

Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill
The one worthwhile part of this bill reminds me of right wing Tea-Baggers in the US. Labour finally propose ending the stupid Serious and Organised Crime Act ban on demonstrations around Parliament. So it will be ok to demonstrate against a potential Tory (Tory/Lib Dem) Government, but for most of the time Labour was in Government – not against them.

As long as they don’t start saying protest is patriotic.

It would give Parliament the ability to scrutinise treaties, while of course ignoring the fact Labour promised a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

It ends the by-election of hereditary peers to sit in House of Lords, which therefore reduces their number over time. It also allows for the disqualification of peers convicted of serious offences or subject to a bankruptcy order. I wonder who they are getting at?

It allows Peers to resign Peerages. Something that already has a precedent.

Crime and Security Bill
More Nanny and less tackling the real problems, as this introduces mandatory assessment of parenting needs when 10 to 15-year-olds are considered for an ASBO.

The amount of information police need to record when carrying out stop and search, I guess they are forgetting SUS laws. Yay to the Daily Mail agenda.

It gives police the power to bar suspected domestic violence offenders from their homes for a period, even if not charged. All very well, except of course it ignores the somewhat important principle of innocent before guilty, but who will house those barred from their own homes?

It would make it a legal requirement to store air guns safely.

Possession of a mobile phone in prison without authorisation would become a criminal offence.

Wheel-clamping businesses will be subject to a licence.

The DNA database will continue to grow. Adults who are arrested but not charged will have their DNA recorded for six years. Of course, when Labour politicos were arrested, they were not subject to fingerprinting and DNA testing. It would also allow the police to record DNA samples and fingerprints of sexual and seriously violent offenders returning to UK following a conviction overseas.

Digital Economy Bill
A disgusting and disgraceful sop to the music and film industry at the expense of Internet Service providers. A bought and paid for Government.

Of course in terms of technology, this bill does nothing to deal with the highly unfavourable tax regime this Government placed on IT workers. The consequence of this is that the UK games Industry, which was the 3rd largest in the World is slipping to 5th place and probably even worse.

Ofcom would be given a legal obligation the duty to assess the UK’s communications infrastructure every two years.

The digital radio switchover would happen by 2015.

Video games ratings would become compulsory for games designed for children aged 12 and above.

Channel 4 would be given a public service remit – despite the pressures it faces on advertising.

Energy Bill
Private companies will bee forced to issue rebates for fuel to poorer customers. Interesting as a fair chunk of the UK fuel industry and the Water industry is liked to the French government.

Financial Services Bill
This would establish a Council for Financial Stability, after all, the man who served as Chancellor for so many years was able to deliver Britain from Boom and Bust – NOT. It would be chaired by the chancellor, and comprising representatives of the Treasury, Bank of England and Financial Services Authority.

Strengthens the FSA to take “action” on pay of those in financial services, following the recent outcry over bonuses. So pay deals become more hidden. It also supposedly promises “action” in UK and somehow internationally, on bankers’ pay.

It would require banks and other financial firms to set up “living will” to make them easier to wind down in the event of a crisis. From “too big to fail” to how to fail.

It would bans unsolicited credit card cheques and enables the setting up of national money guidance service. Despite the fact that they exist already.

It also promises to allows groups of consumers to bring court actions against financial institutions. Again something consumers can do.

Personal Care at Home Bill
This election bribe would guarantee free personal care for the 280,000 people with the “highest needs”, such as those with serious dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

It provides free care to a further  166,000 people who would otherwise have to use their savings to contribute. It also promises to help 130,000 people needing to enter care homes for the first time to “regain their independence”. As well as adaptations to the neediest people’s homes to increase their independence.  Where is the money Gordo?

These bills are promised, but lack of Parliamentary time pretty much ensures that they will never see the light of day.

House of Lords Reform Bill
Promises that the Lords will be between 80% and 100% elected. States the government should not hold a majority in the second chamber and its members must be independent.Nice timing from a Party that will no longer be in Government. Legislate themselves in to a position of power.

International Development Spending Bill
Requires that 0.7% of gross national income is spent on development from 2013. This was in each Labour Manifesto and they continually failed to meet it. Gordon broke his promise to the poor of the World.

The promises on health care and housing of course failed to materialise.

A failed legislative agenda from a failed Government.

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