The Queen's Speech 2008: the Lib Dem response

by Stephen Tall on December 3, 2008

As the Speaker pithily put it,

I have to acquaint the House that this House has this day attended Her Majesty in the House of Peers, and that Her Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech from the Throne to both Houses of Parliament, of which I have, for greater accuracy, obtained a copy.

In other words, today was the day for the Government to spell out its legislative programme for the year ahead. Masochists can enjoy the whole darned thing courtesy of Hansard here; for those who prefer their information distilled by the BBC click here.

You can read Nick Clegg’s response to the Queen’s Speech, over at the party website here, and an extact below:

Mr Speaker, it’s clear today it isn’t just Britain’s economy that’s broken. Politics is broken, too. Today’s Government programme is just political pantomime – plenty of bright colours and bad jokes, but very little substance. Labour’s run out of ideas. It is clearer today than ever that Britain needs a new, different Government. A different political beginning. That’s what the Liberal Democrats will deliver.”

Stirring words; and here’s the policy priorities the Lib Dems have said they would have wanted to see in the Queen’s Speech in order to “give people the help they need right now”:

· Offering big, permanent and fair tax cuts for ordinary people and families, to put money back in their pockets, funded by closing the multi-billion pound loopholes that benefit only the very
rich and big business.
· Releasing local authorities from Whitehall rules so that they can borrow against their assets, and buy up unsold properties and turn them into social housing, complete unfinished housing projects, and provide affordable homes to the thousands of families without a permanent roof over their heads.
· Forcing the banks to lend money on fair terms to small businesses and families – and making it quite clear that if the banks cannot be made to act, the government will lend directly itself.
· Creating a big programme of green investment to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and set Britain up for a more sustainable future.
· Forcing energy companies to charge fairly for heating and lighting our homes, so that a pensioner trying to heat just a single room is no longer paying more for her units of energy than a millionaire heating five floors of a mansion.