Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/14515

Posted on 16 May 2012 at 13:23 GMT

The Queen's Speech - What readers thought

This year's Queen's Speech has been dismissed by press commentators as 'lacking in substance'. But that doesn't mean it doesn't contain some more poison for workers. Readers of the Socialist tell us what they thought.


More attacks on workers and their rights

Paul Gerrard

The coalition government want to roll back employees' rights, just like they have rolled back public sector workers' pay. A new Bill proposed in the Queen's speech, The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, will increase the period of employment required, from one year to two, before you can take a case, such as unfair dismissal, to tribunal.

Additionally, in future all tribunal cases will have to be referred first to the arbitration organisation, Acas. Acas' resources are already very stretched and, given the government's deficit-slashing agenda, there is unlikely to be any investment in Acas to deal with this additional workload.

The government claims that they must take action to halt the supposedly "astronomical" rise in tribunal claims. In fact employment tribunal claims have levelled off recently. This is not likely to be due to increased worker satisfaction or a decline in bullying but more likely frustration with a long-winded and expensive process which usually doesn't get you your job back.

Behind the scenes

And who is driving this agenda? None other than Adrian Beecroft, a 100 million venture capitalist. Beecroft has given 530,000 to Tory funds under David Cameron and in return he was asked to produce a report on cutting employee rights as a way to 'boost growth'.

A few Lib Dems squealed and the report has never been published but the Queen's Speech has Beecroft's finger-marks all over it. Beecroft is chair of Dawn Capital, whose portfolio includes Wonga.com, which offers short-term loans at scandalous rates of interest up to several thousand per cent. These are the people Cameron listens to.


Watch out for the bogeyman

Nial Vivian

Terrorism, serious crime, the bogeyman - all of these would justify the state apparatus leafing through your mail and analysing everything you've read, as part of legislation outlined in the Queen's speech.

Knowledge that you've been in contact with the bogeyman him/herself is all they need to get a warrant. A warrant to read your mail, to poke around in your private life and find out one of a million things that could potentially be used as leverage to have you confess to all manner of discrepancies.

To justify such measures while at the same time professing to protect free speech is an insult. If we are to be watched at all turns, to fear for who may be watching us at every corner, how can we be expected to freely speak our minds? Where does criticism, a fundamental part of learning, get a look in? The answer may be as sinister as you would imagine.

Whether giving up government secrets, speaking out against the regime or planning action to stop workplace discrimination, they may well be watching you soon. Recently protesters staged an occupation of Menwith Hill, the largest US spy base outside the homeland and central to plans to further the observation of communication in Britain.

This Draft Communications Bill makes the campaign to defend our democratic rights an urgent part of the fight against austerity.


Family friendly measures?

The Families Bill that was proposed in the Queen's speech may look like a good idea to those outside the Special Educational Needs (SEN) community and can be seen as freedom from bureaucratically controlled council departments.

However all it means is a continuation of privatisation and cuts to already massively overstretched social services departments.

As a father, single parent and carer of two special needs kids and one adult, I can see the consequences this could entail for me and the other SEN families that I know.

I was told that if I had direct payments, I could have more respite as I could negotiate with the carer and pay them less giving me more hours. So in effect parents and people in need of care will have to make their own cuts. If the budget provided is not increased either, there will be less and less respite making life intolerable for families with SEN children. They say managing budgets will be optional but with the cuts to council services they will not have the staff to do it.

This system is supposed to be in place in our schools already, but owing to a lack of staff and funding many children slip through the net or those who do need support are not given support as there is no adequate funding available. With the current ongoing cuts in education, this is likely to be just words.

It is likely that children with less noticeable special needs, such as some cases of autism, will be out of the category altogether therefore not receiving any help at all and ending up being excluded from some mainstream schools, especially academies.

What is needed is full public funding for education, the NHS, social services and other departments to end the profit motive and with democratic control so that parents, carers, service users and staff can together plan the best provision possible.

John Gillman, Reading Socialist Party

Noticeable by its absence: same sex marriage

Greg Randall

US President Barak Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage in a TV interview on 9 May. That same day in Britain marriage equality was conspicuously absent from legislative plans set out in the Queen's Speech, despite David Cameron's avowed support.

Obama previously avoided committing himself on the issue and when he did come out in favour he did so very cautiously. Nevertheless, is this a sign of courage, coming only a day after voters in North Carolina voted to ban same-sex marriage in the state's constitution? Not really.

Most US voters sufficiently opposed to 'gay marriage' for it to be a determining factor when choosing candidates already back Obama's Republican Party opponents due to their generally reactionary stance.

Voters wanting a change in the law would probably back Obama anyway or abstain in disgust at his big business policies. He is trying to shore up his base and campaign funding.

It is claimed that gay men and lesbians among Obama's super-wealthy financial backers influenced him, but they are unlikely to push for measures that would guarantee jobs and improve conditions for millions of workers, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers.

Socialists support marriage equality as an important democratic right. This should go with the right to a job and decent standard of living in your married (or unmarried) life. The capitalist system cannot provide such rights.

Institution

Marriage should not be used to privatise the basic functions of society by getting family members to work as unpaid carers when workers are disabled, fall ill or reach old age. This is the agenda behind Cameron's support for same-sex marriage. He wants to "strengthen the institution of marriage" - that is, for families and partners to fill in for the services he is cutting.

The absence of marriage equality in the government's programme has been attributed to pressure put on Cameron by his right-wing backbenchers.

Many Tories yearn for the open homophobia of the Thatcher years. They want to sow division in society and scapegoat minorities in the hope of diverting opposition to austerity. Their plan is to pull Cameron even further to the right in the hope of splintering the coalition with the Lib Dems.

No politician representing big business can be relied on by LGBT communities. They may say they support us but they all dance to the tune of the ruling class in the end. We have to fight against prejudice and the system that encourages it if we are to win and guarantee liberation.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Government:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: How long can May cling on for?

triangleMay's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

triangle100 years since women won the vote

triangleVienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity

triangleLabour NHS rally reveals horrors but offers no way forward

Obama:

triangleSolidarity not racism - Socialism not Trumpism

triangleBuild 100 days of resistance to Trump's agenda!

triangleVictory at Standing Rock: US authorities agree to re-route oil pipeline

triangleTrump victory: Failure of the Democrat establishment

Cuts:

triangleBradford protests against kids' service cuts

triangleVictory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

Children:

triangleTragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

Gay:

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

LGBT:

triangleAustralia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

Britain:

triangleCaerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/2/18

TUSC

Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

21/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

21/2/18

Students

How can students and young people fight the Tories?

21/2/18

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland talks process paralysed

21/2/18

UKIP

Like rats from a sinking Ukip

21/2/18

Newham

Blairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

21/2/18

NHS

Tories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

19/2/18

Election

Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

14/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice

14/2/18

Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

14/2/18

TUSC

Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections

14/2/18

EU

What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in

14/2/18

Rents

Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

14/2/18

Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands

14/2/18

NHS

We can win the fight for the NHS

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999