Alternative Queen’s Speech Yes/No/Maybe countdown

“1) Face Coverings (Prohibition) – Bill to prohibit the wearing of certain face coverings; and for connected purposes.” Nope.

“2) National Service – Bill to provide a system of national service for young persons; and for connected purposes.”  Maybe – what will they do and who will pay for it?

“3) European Communities Act 1972 (Repeal) – Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and related legislation; and for connected purposes.” Have a referendum and you don’t need this now.

“4) Young Offenders (Parental Responsibility) – Bill to make provision for the parents of young offenders to be legally responsible for their actions.”  No. The rule of law is the rule of law.

“5) Foreign National Offenders (Exclusion from the United Kingdom) – Bill to make provision to exclude from the United Kingdom foreign nationals found guilty of a criminal offence committed in the United Kingdom.”  Seems reasonable to me, subject to specific treaty obligations we already have.

“6) Asylum Seekers (Return to Nearest Safe Country) – Bill to facilitate the transfer of asylum seekers to the safe country nearest their country of origin.”  Looks like a ‘bridge too far’.

“7) Prisoners (Completion of Custodial Sentences) – Bill to require prisoners to serve in prison the full custodial sentence handed down by the court.”  I imagine it would take a bit more than this to unravel the apparent chaos of sentencing and tariff rules, but we have to start somewhere. Good opening gambit.

“8) Fishing Grounds and Territorial Waters (Repatriation) – Bill to make provision for the Government to designate certain fishing grounds and territorial waters as sovereign territory of the United Kingdom outside the control of the Common Fisheries Policy.”  Another gun-jumper; if we have a referendum on EU membership, we may need a bill to do something like this as part of an exit.

“9) School Governing Bodies (Adverse Weather Conditions) – Bill to require school governing bodies and headteachers to make provision to keep schools open in adverse weather conditions.”  Hell, yeah, if it can be shown they don’t do enough now and are frustrated by H&S claptrap.

“10) Capital Punishment – Bill to allow for capital punishment for certain offences.”  We need to be careful how we go about this in view of very sensible objections on grounds of scope and avoidance of miscarriage of justice, but this is a big “yes”. I’m a believer in capital justice.

“11) Government Departments (Amalgamation of Scotland Office, Wales Office and Northern Ireland Office) – Bill to make provision for the amalgamation of the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices.”  Whether we need full departments of state post-devolution is a very good question.  I’d abolish DCMS and DFID before I worry about these.

“12) Residential Roads (Adoption by Local Highways Authority) – Bill to require the handover of residential roads built by developers to local highways authorities within certain time periods; and for connected purposes.”  Not something I know anything about.

“13) Equality and Diversity (Reform) – Bill to prohibit the use of affirmative and positive action in recruitment and appointment processes; to amend the Equality Act 2010 to remove the special provision for political parties in relation to the selection of candidates; and for connected purposes.”  In as far as this is an attack on single-sex shortlists, it’s a good one. There are sometimes fair grounds for permitting discrimination in employment in sensitive positions, though.

“14) Sentencing Escalator – Bill to provide that a criminal reconvicted for an offence on a second or further occasion receives a longer sentence than for the first such offence.”  Would need a lot of safeguards, but yes.

“15) Leasehold Reform (Amendment) – Bill to amend the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 in relation to the permitted signatories of notices; and for connected purposes.”  Not sure what this is about yet.

“16) BBC Licence Fee (Civil Debt) – Bill to make provision to decriminalise the non-payment of the BBC licence fee.”  Daft.

“17) Smoking (Private Members’ Clubs) – Bill to make provision to allow smoking in a separate ventilated room in a private members’ club if a majority of the members of the club so decide.”  Yes.  I like the odd cigar.

“18) Margaret Thatcher Day – Bill to make provision that the annual Bank Holiday Monday in late August be known as Margaret Thatcher Day.”  No.

“19) Department of Energy and Climate Change (Abolition) – Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and for its functions to be absorbed into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.”  As with the other departments targetted, this isn’t top of my list, but it’s on it.

“20) Married Couples (Tax Allowance) – Bill to make provision for a tax allowance for married couples.”  Now we’ve got equal marriage, why not?

“21) Foreign Aid Ring-Fencing (Abolition) – Bill to make provision for foreign aid and development not to be linked to a specific percentage of Gross National Income, but to be set yearly, by Parliament, in relation to need.”  Yes, but we should just abolish DFID and save ourselves billions each year.

“22) Charitable Status for Religious Institutions – Bill to make provision for a presumption that religious institutions meet the public benefit test for charitable status.”  First instinct is to say no – I am a secularist.

“23) Same Sex Marriage (Referendum) – Bill to make provision for a referendum on whether same sex marriage should be allowed.”  NO.

“24) Wind Farm Subsidies (Abolition) – Bill to make provision for the cessation of subsidies for the development of wind farms.”  Yes, these things are not the miracle we have long been assured they are.

“25) Withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights and Removal of Alleged Terrorists – Bill to make provision for an application to the Council of Europe to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights and to deport alleged terrorists subject to approval by the British courts.”  No. Such a bill would not have the consequences its promoters hope, in any case. Blatant UKIPpish grandstanding.

“26) Romanian and Bulgarian Accession (Labour Restriction) – Bill to make provision for restrictions on the residence in the UK of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to continue.”  Not really practical until/unless we leave the EU and not necessarily desirable even then.

“27) BBC Privatisation – Bill to make provision for the privatisation of the British Broadcasting Corporation by providing shares in the Corporation to all licence fee payers.”  No. I’ve always believed the job of the Conservative Party is to conserve and improve the institutions which shape us and the nation. The BBC is one of them, and privatisation is not the answer. Still needs reform, though.

“28) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Abolition) – Bill to make provision for the abolition of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and its responsibilities to be allocated to other Departments of State.”  Let’s abolish the Minister for Misogyny forthwith.

“29) Prime Minister (Replacement) – Bill to make provision for the appointment of a Prime Minister in the event that a Prime Minister is temporarily or permanently incapacitated.”  Constitutional nonsense, nope.

“30) United Kingdom (Withdrawal from the European Union) – Bill to make provision for the Government to give notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; and for connected purposes.”  No, let’s have a referendum.

“31) Asylum (Time Limit) – Bill to require that asylum claims in the United Kingdom be lodged within three months of the claimant’s arrival in the United Kingdom; and that persons who have already entered the United Kingdom and wish to make an asylum claim must do so within three months of the passing of this Act.”  Yes.

“32) Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) – Bill to make provision to restrict the entitlement of non-UK Citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area to taxpayer-funded benefits.”  Other EU countries appear to do this, why shouldn’t we as long as we protect reciprocal arrangements?

“33) Illegal Immigrants (Criminal Sanctions) – Bill to make provision for criminal sanctions against those who have entered the UK illegally or who have remained in the UK without legal authority.”  Need to distinguish between genuine asylum seekers and foreign criminals, but we should be able to decide who we admit. Probably yes.

“34) Sexual Impropriety in Employment – Bill to require that claims by employees alleging sexual impropriety be limited to cases where the alleged misconduct is contrary to the criminal law and has been reported to the police.”  No, no, no.

“35) Collection of Nationality Data – Bill to require the collection and publication of information relating to the nationality of those in receipt of benefits and of those to whom national insurance numbers are issued.”  I’m amazed if we don’t do this already.

“36) Foreign Nationals (Access to Public Services) – Bill to restrict access by foreign nationals to United Kingdom public services for which no charge is made.”  Maybe. Need to see more of the detail and remember our reciprocal arrangements.

“37) House of Lords (Maximum Membership) – Bill to provide for a maximum limit on the number of Peers entitled to vote in the House of Lords, and to provide for a moratorium on new appointments.”  Good idea until we reform it properly, yes.

“38) Control of Offshore Wind Turbines – Bill to restrict the height, number, location and subsidies of wind turbines situated offshore within 20 miles of the coast.”  Need to do something about it, yes.

“39) Employment Opportunities – Bill to introduce more freedom, flexibility and opportunity for those seeking employment in the public and private sectors; and for connected purposes.”  I’m all for freer markets, yes.

“40) EU Membership (Audit of Costs and Benefits) – Bill to require an independent audit of the benefits and costs of UK membership of the European Union.”  We’re going to have to have this before the EU referendum, yes.

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One Response to Alternative Queen’s Speech Yes/No/Maybe countdown

  1. I don’t agree with you on all of your analyses of the “alternative Queen’s speech” – my overall impression is that it is somewhat draconian, authoritarian, socially conservative and hugely distracting from the one and only thing that the Conservatives need to be talking about right now – the economy, and how to spur some REAL economic growth and job creation.

    But I do very much like your point-by-point take on the individual measures, I may do something similar over at my blog (with all due credit, of course).

    Keep up the good writing!

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