Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/464/1743
The Socialist 23 November 2006 |
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Queen's speech says 'work till you drop'
WE'LL WORK into our graves, if we don't get locked up without a trial, while only rich people will be able to drive. That's the future promised by this year's Queen's Speech.
The pension bill announced in the speech promises to link state pension increases to wage rises from 2012. More people should be able to claim a full pension, with the promise to cut the number of years you have to work before claiming from 44 years for men and 39 years for women, to 30 years for both sexes.
However, in exchange we'll have to work until 68. That's if we're still alive by then as New Labour destroys the NHS, while the second top-up state pension, Serps, is cut. As usual, they give with one hand while taking with the other!
The pledges on tackling crime and terrorism again relied on attacking democratic rights. There was nothing to deal with the main causes, such as ending poverty or removing the troops from Iraq.
The Queen said that addressing terrorism was at "the heart of my government's programme". No bill was announced, but current government reviews indicate measures including another attempt to lengthen detention without trial to 90 days, allow phone-tap evidence and ban people from covering their faces at protests.
The criminal justice bill intends to "rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of the victim", while the fraud bill will remove the use of juries from serious fraud cases.
New Labour's strategy for solving traffic congestion remains taxing the poor off the road! More cities will have congestion charge areas, including a pay-as-you-drive scheme.
To tackle climate change, there was a pledge to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. However, the government admits it will miss its 20% target for 2010, and that doesn't include aviation and shipping aviation. The bill is likely to use emissions trading, so polluting businesses will be able to increase their quota by buying from low-emission companies.
The Queen's speech shows that New Labour will carry on regardless with their firm commitment to the free market. Only a socialist society, with the world's resources under democratic control of the population, rather than big business, could plan to invest in public transport and renewable power, rather than nuclear power, and make sure wealth is shared out so no one has to work into their grave.