ConservativeHome is busy putting out its own version of the Queen’s Speech. The point of the exercise is to map out what the Conservatives’ legislative agenda might have looked like had they won a majority in 2010.
The leading liberal think=tank CentreForum has done something similar. Last week, we came up with nine measures that we would like to see enacted by a big ‘l’ liberal government. I have listed them below, and placed in brackets the government department that each of them would fall under. With the exception of Lords reform, we don’t expect to hear any of these measures being read out by Her Majesty, but I guess there is always next time…
HM Government will:
- Legislate to get all children reading by the age of 11 (DfE).
- Tackle the housing crisis by liberalising the planning system and give leaseholders a better deal (DCLG).
- Go further in relaxing controls on the number of students entering higher education, and introduce a bill for postgraduate loans (BIS).
- Change Home Office visa rules so that overseas students who are studying in the UK on a temporary basis are treated differently to permanent migrants (Home Office).
- Press ahead with legislation for a majority elected and smaller House of Lords (Cabinet Office).
- Commit to changing water industry legislation to make hosepipe bans a thing of the past (Defra).
- Push for a more diverse senior judiciary (MoJ).
- Legislate to raise the state pension age by one month every year (DWP).
- Go further in making the energy market friendlier to consumers (DECC).
Justification for each of these measures can be found on the CentreForum website. I won’t go into detail here. What I will say is that this is a liberal Queen’s Speech that all liberals, from all parties, can get behind.
Our speech is based upon the principles of freedom and fairness. It will help disadvantaged children escape their circumstances at birth. It will get more people into housing. It will cut youth unemployment immediately, promote consumer choice, and strengthen our democracy. It will boost the economy now and further down the line.
Tim Montgomerie describes the ‘majority conservatism’ of the ConHome Queen’s Speech as ‘popular, pro-poor, balanced and broad’. I would say the same about our ‘liberal’ Queen’s speech. It will be interesting to find out whether LDV readers agree.
* Tom Frostick is head of press and communications at CentreForum, the liberal think tank.