‘We are mired in the deepest and longest recession since the Second World War, with deep social problems and a political system that is held in contempt. The State Opening of Parliament tomorrow ought to be about radical ideas to deal with this triple crisis.
Instead, by all accounts, the Queen’s Speech will be little more than a Labour press release on palace parchment. Don’t take my word for it. As The Times reported yesterday, a Cabinet minister has been boasting about the contents of the speech. What was said? That it was the most ambitious since Labour had come to power? That it was the most likely to help the poorest in our society? No. The boast was that this will be “the most political Queen’s Speech for 12 years”. Apparently, it’s all going to be about dividing lines between Gordon Brown and the Conservatives.
That tells you all you need to know about the character of this Government — and, indeed, this Prime Minister. Dig deeper into any of his plans and you’ll find pettiness masquerading as principle. What we need is radicalism and the Conservatives have proved that we are the only party to possess it.’ As details of Labour's strategy emerge, accompanied by yet more calls for spending increases, it is clear that Labour is heading left. Some of their proposals are admirable but unworkable; others are merely cynical. It is impossible to object to free homecare for 350,000 of the neediest people except on the grounds that such initiatives are peacetime luxuries. On the other hand, hikes in national insurance and Tobin taxes endanger recovery for the sake of Labour patching things up with its cuckolded core vote - a strategy designed solely to limit defeat.
Certainly Cameron is correct to be so angered that the Queen's Speech is to be used for electioneering, but he need not worry about such self-service. The most recent ICM poll puts the Tories 13 points clear, despite Gordon Brown’s insistence that we’ll wake up in six months time and find ourselves in a land of milk and honey. The centre ground has not bought the government’s rather obviously sugared pills.