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South Shields will not notice

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Queen's SpeechThe Queen’s Speech may as well not happen

Danny Finkelstein is absolutely right of course, I’ll wager that the majority of people in South Shields and South Tyneside don’t even realise that today is the day that the Queen will read out the package of measures that this lifeless Labour government has no intention of getting through Parliament before the next election. I doubt if more than two hundred of us even know that the State Opening of Parliament is about to happen this afternoon, and less than 100 of us will remember next month just what Gordon Brown’s government proposed today, there may be a slight recollection when the election comes around and these “dividing lines” are shoved under our noses day in day out in the newspapers and on radio and television, there may be more of a reaction to the rise in petrol prices over the coming months but no one will recall the day that Alistair Darling announced further rises in the fuel duty escalator. That’s the way it is with politics, until the measures hit us in the pocket they register just about zero on the Richter Scale with most electors.

There is still a huge disconnect between the average voter and the man or women who represents them, political life is just that for the political classes, an all consuming attitude that encompasses everything that they do, designed to prosper their career on the greasy pole that has led to a comfortable existence mainly at our expense. It is only during the moments and days that the mailbag is full of complaints, the email boxes bulge with bile and anger, the letters pages of newspapers scream out indignation and radio phone in programmes become an ordeal rather than a chore, that MPs, MEPs, or local councillors realise that they have said or done something which has touched a raw nerve with the general public. During the rest of their time legislating on our behalf they may as well sit back and relax in the comfort that most of us just don’t care.

This, of course, is a sad reflection on our modern democracy, but the past year with it’s revelations over MPs expenses and broken promises over allowances by local councillors has served to widen the gulf between electors and politicians, the trust has all but disappeared and the majority of us no longer care less what they say or do, until we get the chance to have them removed and replaced with a new bunch who we hope will operate in a more responsive and sanitised environment. It is often said that oppositions do not win elections, but that governing parties manage to lose them, next year’s will only be slightly different if David Cameron’s re-marketed brand of Conservatism looks as though it will be intent on cleaning up the political process and determined to make MPs where hair shirts, otherwise we can look back and firmly assert that Gordon Brown’s bloodless coup in taking the leadership of the Labour Party after “reminding” Tony Blair of the “Granito arrangement” was the point at where the discontent started. There is little doubt that the British electorate see something of a popularity contest going on between our political leaders, how they look, how they talk, how they sound, how they listen, and how they come across on TV is probably far more important than what they mean, what they stand for, and what their policies are. Gordon Brown has just failed miserably to shine for Labour and has dragged their popularity so far down that it is unlikely to recover whilst he is in charge of the country. Another sad, but true, reflection.

The aura of the political world means little at all to the average unemployed person in Simonside or Cleadon Park, hence at local elections less than one in three will help elect a councillor, at general elections less than six in ten will elect an MP, so today most will be benignly blind to the fact that the Queen’s Speech will tell us a load of old nonsense about this Bill or that Bill, and that most Bills will run out of time and running space before the election comes along. The folks on the street are far more bothered about how much petrol they can afford to put in the car this week, how much can they afford to spend on Christmas presents this year, how long before a job might come along, or will it be possible at all to take the family away on holiday next year. Your MPs will probably not be having these concerns, after all their salaries and expenses, which we provided them with, will ensure that they have little to worry about (at least for those considered to be occupying safe seats).

So Gordon Brown and David Cameron can lead their parties through the lobbies this afternoon to stand at the entrance to the House of Lords and listen to Her Majesty making pronouncements on behalf of the beleaguered Brown, but I will have other things to do (I’ll be at the gym as part of my cardiac rehabilitation regime) and most of the rest of us in South Shields will give it a miss too, after all we aren’t that bothered if this rump Parliament gets through next to no work in the next few months are we?

Of course not, so long as they get through it quickly and quietly, because I believe there may be a little more interest than usual from Mr. and Mrs. Average at the next election, because then it matters, and I believe it matters more that the people elect many new representatives to replace the old, tired, self serving, greedy, pocket lining , wasteful, arrogant, lying, cheating, and probably criminal types that have inhabited this Parliament!

So Danny is right, today’s Queen’s Speech is little more than a sideshow before the main event.

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Written by curly

November 18, 2009 at 10:42 am

2 Responses

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  1. There was an analyst from the Adam Smith Institute on CNBC immediately after the speech to give reaction. His first comment:

    “Just about the only bit I believed was that she is going to enjoy her trip to Bermuda”.

    David Potts

    November 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm

  2. Heard David Cameron’s savage attack on Brown on the radio in the car, and why were the Labour benches so empty?


    November 18, 2009 at 6:22 pm

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