Queen’s Speech shows up Centre-Right Conspiracy

This was Labour’s 11th consecutive Queen’s Speech. And it showed. Is this list of 29 new bills really what Gordon Brown has been plotting and dreaming of delivering for the past 15 years? Even had Mr Brown not decided to pre-announce the measures back in July (ah, the new ‘no spin’ era – remember that?) this would still have ranked among the most tepid of policy programmes imaginable.

Of course, there are some welcome good intentions – bills on climate change and constitutional reform – but there is little radical thinking, no real progressive advance. And in other areas, there are clear signs of just how illiberal Labour can be – new moves to extend detention without trial, and the proposed criminalisation of those who don’t want to stay in education or training until they’re 18.

There are those who will call this Queen’s Speech a huge anti-climax. I’m not sure I agree, as I’ve no recollection of Mr Brown teasing my expectations. For all his supposedly vast intellect, we’re still little the wiser as to what the Prime Minister wishes to achieve during his time in office. He’s had plenty of opportunities to tell us. Remember the early hinted promises of surprise reform packages on a whole range of issues – from ID cards, to Iraq, to nuclear power, to fair votes? Like the general election that wasn’t, Mr Brown flunked them all.

The reality is that Mr Brown continues to preside over the same kind of soggy Labour/Tory consensus that Tony Blair and David Cameron spent 18 months scrapping over. It’s nothing more than a Centre-Right Conspiracy – and only liberalism stands opposed to it.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds and Parliament.


  • Guido responding to LDV – good stuff

    The problem that Stephen has here is that he uses the left-right argument. I think it is becoming increasingly bogus.

  • Bonkalot Jones 6th Nov '07 - 8:58pm
  • bill haymes 7th Nov '07 - 2:44am

    Stephen Tall is right about diretion and we definitely need Hulne to make our economic distinctiveness clearer still and not become part of the soggy centre.

    Liberal Democracy will crash and burn in the centre /centre right of British politics.

    The democratic crisis of appalling turn-outs cannot be solved by sentimentality but by making hard choices and establishing a much clearer identity

  • Peter Bancroft 7th Nov '07 - 10:48am

    I must agree with Andy, here.

    I feel a lot more comfortable attacking authoritarians who insist on ID cards and massive state intervention in our lives to attacking fellow liberals because they’re not the right shade of yellowy-red.

    I can’t imagine that many people would honestly believe that our party would be better if all the liberals in the “centre” and “centre right” of politics simply left – As someone who is happy to grow or shrink the state depending on its impact on personal freedom, I’m constantly being told that coherent liberalism has no place in some people’s view of the party.

  • Bunnies Can And Will Go To France 7th Nov '07 - 2:17pm

    Your voters are centre right, centre left, hard left / BNP, frustrated SNP, gay-haters, diversity fascists – you name it.

    It goes with being the dustbin party for the protest vote.

    What’s the Monster Raving Loony Party’s core vote? You should know, because in constituencies where they don’t field a candidate, their supporters vote for you.

    This thread shows that you can identify a centre-right consensus, but you can’t agree if you’re part of it or opposed to it.

    You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

  • Starswillshine 3rd Dec '07 - 4:07am

    I’ve voted lib dems in 3 out of 4 general elections in either New forest east (2) or now southampton test (1)i missed an election in NFE. The thing is I’m in a constituency that is Labour held with alan whitehead and seems to be the Conservatives in second place. Why should I vote lib dems over the conservatives in my constituency when I want labour out?

  • Grammar Police 3rd Dec '07 - 8:22am

    It depends whether you want Labour out more than any other factor. First, you have to look at the candidates involved and the strength of campaigning. Who knows, you might actually decide to vote for the best candidate regardless of party allegiance (obviously, party allegiance gives some indication as to which candidate will be best!). It’s certainly not impossible to come from third to win.

    Secondly, by voting Tory to get rid of Labour you’re actually voting for identical policies – Labour and the Conservatives are so similar these days that you can have a red Tory or a blue one. I wouldn’t base my vote on my preferred colour.
    Lastly, if you only ever vote for the second-placed candidate to get rid of the current MP you are just perpetuating the system where people vote negatively. I’m not saying that Lib Dems don’t sometimes ask people to vote for them because they have the best chance of winning (indeed, they’d be stupid not to as a number of people still vote in this way. And they should always give positive reasons too), but I’m saying that if you truly want the Lib Dems in power, you might have to vote for them now so that in a few years time they’re in an even better position in your constituency, even if you don’t win this time.

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