Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Alternative Queen's speech..

There is a simple technical term for why the Tory party is in its current mess. It’s called.. the 50p tax cut. Look at any graph of the opinion polls and they tell the true story. Up until March the red and blue lines indicating Labour and Tory support bump along broadly in parallel. And after March the blue line falls off a cliff.

It has nothing to do with gay pasties, marriage in a jerry can or Jeremy Hunt sending dodgy emails to Rebekah Brooks's horse. It’s because at a time when the nation was being told – and broadly accepting – that we all had to be in this together, the Chancellor suddenly leaped up and said “Actually forget all that, we’re looking after the toffs; you serfs can go hang.” writes Dan Hodges.

He is of course quite right, and the Conservatives, having lost that trust which took so long to build, will now spend the next three years trying to regain it. How careless. How stupid. How depressingly easy.

So today's queen's speech becomes an important test, not just of the government's competence, but their ability to rebuild that trust with the British electorate. Here then is the alternative program - not from what the Prime Minister has described as the 'noisy ideology' of Conservative Home and the party's right - but from the people who continue to support a Coalition of the willing - a program building upon this government's radical reforms in education, welfare and health, as well as the unfinished strategy to tackle the monstrous economic problems left by Labour.

These measures are aimed fairly at the people, whether in government through Lords reform, or as part of a continuing social revolution aimed at achieving a nation which John Major once described as being 'at ease with itself'.

Firstly a bill which decriminalises, through licensing, the supply of prostitution throughout the UK. No more pimps. No more black economy. No more exploitation. No more abuse. No more murders. Just clean, professionally run brothels, properly licensed by local authorities and contributing to the British economy - a win for the treasury, sex workers and their customers.

Secondly, a bill which decriminalises, through licensing, the supply of heroin throughout the UK. Any heroin addict may register through a GP to be a licensed user and receive clean, clinically measured and unadulterated free supplies daily. No more deaths from overdose, impurities or neglect. A health service that knows each and every addict and is able to offer support, rehabilitation and hope. And most importantly, an end to the desperate daily crimes of burglary, mugging and other theft to line the pockets of illegal and exploitative suppliers.

Thirdly, a bill which transforms prisons into adult educational facilities. We need to ensure that all prisoners are given the opportunity of learning a trade before returning to society, as well as the gift of basic literacy and numeracy guaranteed to any able prisoner with a sentence of two or more years. It is absolutely essential that every prisoner is able to become part of, and contribute towards being a worthwhile member of society.

Fourthly - and right at the heart of an alternative Queen's speech - a bill to reform the House of Lords. But not by extending a further tier of government to our already failing political class. This bill will put ordinary people at the heart of government. We propose to supply 600 citizens to serve in two week periods as members of the House of Lords. There they will vote on proposed legislation from the House of Commons. They will be chosen from the electoral register - in the same way that jurors are selected - one from each constituency, directly reflecting by gender, age, ethnicity and geography every part of our diverse national character.

David Cameron needs to put people first. Not politicians, higher rate taxpayers or special interests. He should be improving the lives of ordinary people.