Political events today have been dominated by the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech. This is when the Monarch opens the new session of Parliament and sets out the measures which the Government of the day propose to introduce and try and have passed by Parliament. Although it is called the Queen’s Speech the speech is in fact written by the Government of the day so today’s Queen’s Speech was written by Gordon Brown and the Labour Government.
I was up early this morning as I had to be in the studios of BBC Manchester to give a live interview on the Alan Beswick’s Breakfast Show on Radio Manchester.
My view was that, from the advance leaks, the Queen’s Speech looked as though it would be more about what was good for the Labour Party than what was good for the Country.
Some of the proposed measures appear simply bizarre. For example it appears Labour plan to introduce a Bill that would give a legal right to a good education to every pupil. This raises a number of interesting points. Firstly, it seems to me that this is a terrible indictment of Labour’s education policy over the past 12 years. They appear to be admitting that many pupils are simply not getting the education they deserve. Secondly, what does a parent do if they feel their child has not received a good education? What will the process be? What redress will a parent and a child have? Thirdly, for every right there has to be an obligation. So, how will it be decided whether the obligation has been met or not. Fourthly, what sanctions will there be if it is decided that the obligation has not been met.
It all looks like a bonanza for litigation lawyers. This measure simply has not been thought through. The Conservatives proposals for education are for radical reform to allow any suitably qualified organisation to open up new schools. A new pupil premium would mean schools would receive more money for taking pupils from the most disadvantaged areas. Discipline in schools would be improved by giving Headteachers the final say on exclusions.
Finally and incredibly, despite the problem of M.P.’s expenses being so high profile in recent months there is no mention of any Bill to bring into law the proposals of the Kelly report designed to clean up the expenses system.