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Not much of the Tory manifesto has survived in the Queen’s Speech, as Theresa May has binned the vast majority of the new ‘longest suicide note in history’.
There was no mention of the lifting of the ban on new Grammar Schools, while the plans to reform social care were watered down to a mere ‘consultation’, leaving the UK with at least two more years of a social care system in crisis.
The popular cap on energy bills was also left out. The Speech did make one positive move in reducing the housing crisis. That being said, it did reveal plans to ban landlord’s ‘letting fees’ to tenants.
May also announced plans to funnel billions into HS2, money which will go to European rail companies like Arriva and subsidise the nationalised rail services in the European Union, as the BBC2 documentary ‘The Passengers That Took On The Train Line’ last week revealed.
The Speech was dominated by seemingly bizarre, if not callous, distraction tactics to focus attention away from core voter priorities, such as the NHS and the economy. Namely, the Queen’s Speech included plans to allow driverless cars (which are not yet available to the public) to be covered in car insurance. Also announced are new powers to licence a new generation of space flights from the UK, including vertically-launched rockets, satellites and building spaceports.
In the face of rampant inequality and tragically underfunded health, social, and housing services, the licensing of luxury ‘space flights’ and driverless car insurance for the very few comes as a kick in the teeth to voters, the majority of whom will never benefit from these distant technological innovations. The wealth and prosperity of one of the richest countries in the world will not be reinvested in its people, but sent to car insurance companies and Richard Branson.
There was no mention either of Trump’s state visit to the UK. This casts further doubts as to the durability of the UK’s ‘Special Relationship’ with the USA, a key post- Brexit ally.
May has also paid lip service to demands to reverse drastic and tragic cuts to domestic violence services. But instead of listening to these demands, the speech has simply announced a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner. This does not include reopening the many shelters which have been shut down nor reinstalling vital legal aid. This will provide little comfort to the thousands of women who cannot flee their homes because local shelters have been shut down and legal aid has disappeared.
Even Laura Kuenssberg has admitted that May’s speech looks weak. She told the BBC today that the Tory PM’s calls for change have been culled, along with her majority.
The public deserve more than this thin, and quite frankly pointless policy agenda. This Queen’s Speech diverted from the issues that the public care about the most, while scrapping half of the Conservative’s own toxic manifesto. In short, Theresa May has managed to reach a new level of weak and wobbly, and her position is becoming more untenable by the day.