The 23 Lib Dem policies included in this year’s Queen’s Speech

Is that a headline you expected to read even a month ago? Yet today HM The Queen announced a large number of Lib Dem policies as part of the coming year’s legislative programme, including the party’s major priorities: fair taxes, a fair start for children, a green and sustainable economy, and a comprehensive clean up of politics.

Here’s the full list:

    1. Making the tax and benefits system fairer and simpler, including a significant increase in the personal allowance and an ambition to increase it to £10,000
    2. Restoring the earnings link to pensions
    3. Greater freedoms for teachers over the curriculum
    4. Measures to improve energy efficiency in homes and businesses
    5. Support for low carbon energy production
    6. Financial services regulation to learn the lessons of the financial crisis
    7. Fixed term parliaments of five years
    8. A referendum on the Alternative Vote
    9. The right to sack MPs guilty of serious misconduct
    10. Reform of party funding
    11. Moving towards a wholly or partly elected House of Lords, elected by proportional representation
    12. A Bill to restore freedoms and civil liberties, through the abolition of Identity Cards and repeal of unnecessary laws
    13. Giving greater powers to councils and giving neighbourhoods and communities more control over planning and housing decisions
    14. Ending child detention
    15. Fair compensation for Equitable Life victims
    16. Enabling the creation of a national high speed rail network
    17. The modernisation of the Royal Mail
    18. Flexible working and promotion of equal pay
    19. Strengthening the voices of patients and the role of doctors in the NHS
    20. A commission on long-term reform of social care
    21. Cutting Quangos and government bureaucracy
    22. Implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission
    23. A referendum on further powers for the Welsh Assembly

The full list of Bills and other items from the Queen’s Speech is available here.

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  • Its a dream 25th May '10 - 2:18pm

    Never thought I would see that day when the Queens Speech included such wonderful political and individual liberty reform proposals. Things I have dreamt about for 45 years.
    Quite honestly it baffles me how people can join the Greens or Labour when these issues are happening, and we know in our hearts thay would not have happened in any other scenario.

  • On a rough count, about 14 of those were also in the Conservative manifesto.

  • Where in the manifesto was a referendum on the Alternative Vote?

  • David Morton 25th May '10 - 3:12pm

    99% of the population are policy wonkish train spotter who’ll keep a note book handy to write down the registration number when they see a Lib Dem policy. The party needs one to three big, identifiable themes that people instinctively know we are only getting because of Lib Dem involvement. If these 1 to 3 were popular that would help but thats an added extra.

    If this isn’t acted on fast the party is going to end up like one of the expensive but small ingrediants in a smoothy. We’ll flagged up on the packaging, a small proportion of the actual product and blended to an indisguishable pulp.

  • George Kendall 25th May '10 - 6:15pm

    @David Morton
    True. We need to work out how to promote the party, while supporting the coalition. I don’t think we’ve worked this out yet. Doubtless, we’ve people working on this, but frankly, everyone is working this out as we go along.

    But I think you are too gloomy. Even if we fail to establish a distinct policy identity while in coalition, I think there’s a good chance we’ll get a positive identity out of this: as a guarantor against extreme and nasty government.

    With the Tories on their own, there’ll always be a worry that it might be the same old nasty Tories. As a lot of moderate Tories actually think this, there’s a good chance this will be what people think.

    The Tories may benefit from our detoxifying the Tory brand, and we may see a Tory majority in 2015, but this could have happened anyway. We might get fewer MPs in 2015, but this too might have happened anyway.

    What is looking increasingly certain is a lot of our policies are going to become Acts of parliament. That’s we’ll worth the risk.

  • Andrew Suffield 26th May '10 - 5:42am

    The Tories may benefit from our detoxifying the Tory brand, and we may see a Tory majority in 2015, but this could have happened anyway. We might get fewer MPs in 2015, but this too might have happened anyway.

    What is looking increasingly certain is a lot of our policies are going to become Acts of parliament. That’s we’ll worth the risk.

    More than that, consider this:

    Should the primary purpose in government be to seek reelection? It that really what the party is about – using power to seek more power?

    Certainly a lot of politicians work that way, and that may be part of the problem.

  • Not such good news that the Tories seem determined to push the AV referendum into the long grass. Bad faith already?

  • Ray Cobbett 26th May '10 - 8:39am

    We should wait to see what happens in the real light of day before we get too excited.
    As always it’s the bread and butter stuff that’s more important than all
    the ‘free and fair society’ rethoric. Vince is in for a terrible struggle with the unions.
    Gove’s new schools visions could destabilise the whole sector. When exactly are
    we having the referendum on AV, whose seats are going under the new boundaries
    and how more will local councils have to do with much less. There’s more……

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th May '10 - 10:11am

    In the medium term our party as a party, that is all of us members, will need to move towards keeping some distance from its Parliamentarians. They may be battling valiantly to get Liberal Democrat policies through the coalition, but being in government it is inevitable that their voices in public will be silenced in some ways.

    I fully accept that someone who is in the Cabinet cannot come out and start attacking policies he was against but was in the minority in Cabinet, cannot come out and speak in support of alternatives we as a party would want if we had it all our own way.

    What we want in someone who is the Leader of our party IS someone who can speak fully in support of what it would ideally want. It therefore seems to me that in a coalition situation we must reconsider whether the Leader more generally of our party should be the same person as the Leader of its Parliamentary group. These are two separate roles, and in a coalition situation there is a clear conflict of interest between the two roles.

    This is a de-coupling a bit like the de-coupling between dissolution of Parliament and dissolution of government which so many people outside our party seem to find hard to understand. It could be done simply by adding the word “Parliamentary” to the “Leader” title, and enhancing the role of the other elected leader the party has, who has the title “President”.

  • Matthew,

    I don’t think we should be in this arrangement in the first place. However, given that we are, and will be for at least another year, you are right to point to the gagging of the leadership and the need to find a way to promote the Liberal Democrats rather than the Tory government we are currently propping up.

    One possibiity is an enhanced role for the Party President. At the moment, that post is occupied by a member of the HoL who is little known in the country, but is good at motivating members and getting committees into shape – which is why she was elected. A substitute leader Party President, as opposed to an administrative Party President, might be suited to the likes of Norman Lamb or Don Foster, currently under-utilised backbenchers.

  • Patrick Smith 26th May '10 - 4:47pm

    The list of 23 Liberal Democrat inspired Bills of the `Coalition Government’ will undoubtedly help stop the erosion of civil liberties and make government more bottom up and less top down and unwieldy, through the greater democratic measures to provide more local empowerment and responsibilities for local people.

    It is also important to develop further help for the men and women in the Armed Services in terms of equipment,the betterment and increase of pay with equivalent of fellow public servants in less harm and personal danger.

    I support all concerns expressed as to the welfare of the veterans including those with mental health stress and all those receiving rebuilding lives pathways at Hedley Court.Their unstinting military service in Iraq and Afghanistan should always be fully recognised as there remains a legacy and gap in public and practical assist that fully equates to the deeds and bravery of our troops and service personnel .

    I ask if our veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq will be allocated the best seats at the opening of the Olympic Games in 2012, if they wish to attend?

    The Liberal Democrat input to the `Coalition Government’ is epoch making and deserves full support in the Country as a fresh generation of Liberal Ministers has been long awaited over 70 years, since the time of Archibald Sinclair, in 1945.

    I for one look for L/D local membership to continue to grow, especially when the timely debate begins to quicken on the voting and constitutional reform that will be led by Nick Clegg.

    This important political cleaner politics reforms will surely change the political landscape for the better and herald a momentous transfer of local empowerment and liberty to the British people?

  • David Clarke 26th May '10 - 4:51pm

    I voted Lib Dem at the previous election only to get rid of our MP, a Blairite who approved of the war in Iraq. On May 6th I spoiled my ballot paper because Green, the only party that seemed to have any principles, stood no chance. In future I will not even spoil my paper because to mark a ballot paper at all lends credibility to a system of government that is deeply undemocratic and unjust. One of the biggest ‘parties’ in this country does not vote, and another big group votes negatively – to keep out rather than put in.

    It matters not a jot to me whether the new coalition is ”centre-left’ or ‘centre-right’. The distinction is pure sophistry.
    All the parties are neoliberal and all suffer from imperial delusions vis-a-vis the rest of the world. None of the parties spoke out, or have spoken out, against the consumerist orgy of recent decades that led inevitably to the credit crunch , none have proclaimed the gross social injustices of capitalism, and none are apparently concerned about the vacuous nature of representational government by public school/Oxbridge types whose values are both materialistic and entirely alien to the those of the people.

  • Let me ask my question again: in what way is a referendum on AV thought to be a Lib Dem policy?

  • Patrick Smith 26th May '10 - 7:52pm

    In reply to Andy H-In what way is a referendum on AV thought to be a Liberal Democrat Policy?

    In fact I would claim that a referendum on AV was closer to the spleen of Labour , in 1997, post Jenkins Commission when he recommended AV Plus, with the additional vote for Party, in the region i.e. akin to how the GLA elects its Members now.. Labour had no political advantage to endorse AV in 1997 with a majority to govern of 160.

    It is clear,however, that many Labour MP`s remain principled disciples of an AV format and support `Fair Votes’ and are also critics of FPTP.

    AV Plus was supposedly first endorsed by Mr Blair and then scuttled, until it resurfaced in the recent Labour Manifesto and talked up in April 2010.But would it have probably hit a road block with the incumbent Labour Leader?

    I would say that most Tories are `Fair Votes’ sceptics but they also now know what government tastes like again.Labour gets disproportionate benefits in each General election, especially in Scotland, due to the vagaries of both FPTP and the uneven populations of voters, inside each Constituency.There is no equal or leavening of this loaf in the present status quo.Labour have also argued that there were 3 million unregistered voters on May 6th..

    The L/D endorsement of support for AV and to allow a decision by Referendum only ,is merely a staging post, to a full PR reform i.e. STV in the next Parliament.

    By such time under AV the L/D MP`s component ought to be consolidated and increased, as it would then mean that a vote for a Liberal Democrat anywhere, would increase the chances of electing a Liberal Democrat, across the board.

    I support AV as a pragmatic staging post to STV as the best version of PR that has been scrutinised and recommended as the best bet for `Fair Votes’ by the Electoral Reform Commission.

    AV is Fairer for the L/Ds than FPTP but less Fair then AV Plus and less `Fair Votes’ future policy for all voters, including women and all minorities, than STV would be, that remains the best PR model to campaign on in future.

    All forms of PR and AV is not one of them, have electoral vagaries and will stop `tactical voting’ and will change the current voting psychology.

    Nearly all EU member States, use a format of PR and also NZ invented it and have made it work well.

    A form of PR has been recommended for 150 years when Parliament has been impotent until now to lay it on the table for the people to decide themselves.

    At the time of the first Reform Act in 1832 that abolished `Rotten Boroughs’ meaning that constituencies like Dunwich on the Suffolk Coast ,were still sending 2 MP`s to Westminster, 200 years after Dunwich, had been eroded and lost under the sea and no longer existed.

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