Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Next Election Campaign Starts Here

We will hear a lot of political posturing today from both the Government and the opposition parties. Labour politicians will try to present the Queen's Speech as a sign of a government full of vitality and ideas, while opposition politicians will dismiss it as a programme full of electoral bribes and as a an 'election manifesto' Queen's Speech. The whole thing is a ritual and everyone will no doubt play their part.

I would simply say that you cannot govern by aspiration, and that's what this Queen's Speech is trying to do. Very few of the Bills will ever see it to the Statute Book. There are only 70 days left before an election is called and I would be surprised to see more than a couple of these Bills making it into law - and they are likely to be the uncontroversial ones.

Does anyone really believe the Social Care Bill providing free personal care for the elderly has been thought through? Where on earth is the money going to come from? At least the Conservatives have announced how they would fund such a system. Legislating to provide "good education" for every pupil is pie in the sky. It's akin to legislating to abolish child poverty by 2020 - a worthy aspiration but not what legislation either can do or is there to do.

I think the electorate will be asking why there are no measures to tackle political and parliamentary reform - surely something that has been at the top of the political agenda for the last six months. A short bill introducing simple, easy to understand measures, which have cross party support would surely have been a worthwhile thing to propose.

But one thing is for sure. The next election campaign starts here.


Irfan Ahmed said...

How will the election start in 70 days time? Are you arguing that we will have a March election, if so do you have any evidence?

RMC said...

The Royal Commission on Long Term Care of the Elderly reported in 1999. Wind forward ten years later and a discredited Labour government seeks to legislate on this very important area in its dying days. Shameful.

Sean Haffey said...

It annoys me how some politicians delight in totally unrealistic sloganising. It's time to Make Pontificating History.

True Belle said...

Bother, bother, bother but too many people say that David Cameron is too posh for power!

Voter appeal, it has to be party appeal, beacause people will remember Blair appeal won't they?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Dont worry Iain if the Tories win the election labour have to give them the money tree as well.

Unsworth said...

Mandelson on Today was disgraceful. Why did Davies not nail the bastard to the wall, or need we ask? Thirteen years and counting - and still a litany of disaster and failure. Davies was a reasonable financial correspondent, as a political interrogator he's crap.

If you want to interview Mandelson you need to be better prepared than that - and be prepared to cut him off by switching his microphone off as necessary. In any event, very few people will have been taken in by all the bullshit. Indeed his comments will only have reinforced the impression that he's a lying little shit - as are all of them.

Michael Heaver said...

If that speech is their vision and they don't have the balls for a gamble, Labour are definitely history.

Newmania said...

Do you remember how deadly the rumour about Pensions was Iain ? I hope there is an anti dirty tricks department .Judging by the breath-taking racist Crewe by-election ,and Mc Bride-gate , I doubt this will be a good clean game

Frugal Dougal said...

It's all very well to offer free personal care to the elderly and, in those older people who were able to work during their working years and actually did so, this is long overdue. But the devil's in the detail: the Alszheimer's Society report released yesterday that the care received in hospital, which is of course free, can be harmful to people with dementia.

Dave H said...

Mandelson was on good deceitful form this morning on R4. One of the first things he said of the Queen's Speech was "it's not about electioneering".

Why is it that statements by a member of this government are often not merely untrue, rather they're actually the diametric opposite of the truth? It's as if the very concept of honesty is an anathema to them.

And Evan Davis was, for the most part, hopeless. Simpering giggles and ineffectual attempts to interrupt The Lord while he delivered today's chosen narrative.

Give me the 'John Humphrys Problem' any day.

Mark Pasola said...

If they can legislate wish lists, why don't they go the whole hog and legislate for world peace and eternal life?

Scarcely less improbable than the abolition of child poverty or the paying off of the national debt.

the joker said...

The costing is done.

£23,000 per adult on their deathbed.

That means a small take on the £Trillions that passes in housing from the parent to the child.

Why shold the State pay for the care, when the kid then gets a house worth £££££££££?

Bill Quango MP said...

Gordon's To do list
1} Cure Cancer by 2010
2} End poverty by December
3} Halve government debt by next week
4} Refurbish all stations by Saturday
5} Save the world. 19 days left.
6} exit Afghanistan - before election
7} Buy packet of biscuits - erm, hmm, tough choice, hmm - by 2020.

Dungeekin said...

I wonder how Her Majesty really feels about it?


Osama the Nazarene said...

"...political and parliamentary reform..."

Fully agree with you there. This is a real measure and a government based on spin is not interested in bringing in real measures. It's all posturing but no surprise there.

Will the Conservatives remember this vital reform or will they put down to the "third term"? Lib Dems seem to be the only ones raising this issue?

Also who is going to tackle the flipping? Both Kelly and Legge have ignored it. Is it down to the HMRC?

Sinbad the sailor said...

12 years on from "think the unthinkable" more hot air ..Enjoy your fat pensions and severance pay outgoing onee in May...

John Moss said...

So Labour's fiscal policy can be summed up as:

When in a hole, dig more slowly!

Childprotector said...

I have just seen a Mandelson article in The Standard headed "At last we've got Cameron on the back foot." Leaving aside the fact that Cameron is as nakedly opportunistic as Lord M, it makes a travesty of responsible government if it constructs a Queen's Speech with the clear intention of dishing the Opposition. We elect them and pay their salaries to deliver in the public interest, not to play party games with the sole aim of staying in power. A disgrace.

James D said...

And I think Elfyn Llwyd should get quote of the day on this one:

"If this is Labour's shadow manifesto, they have lost the election."

Ronald said...

Brown knows he will never have to implement the social care thing.
When Cameron gets in and announces that we cannot afford it Brown the socialists and the BBC will say that the Tories are cruel and hartless if we had voted for nice Mr Brown again all the pensioners would have been looked after.

Fragmeister said...

John Moss:

surely when in a hole, pretend to dig more slowly while promising to people interested in making a living out of the hole that you will dig twice as fast?

Kate j Norden said...

@Bill Quango MP: Hilarious!
Harriet Harman was less hilarious onR4 today, ineffectually denying that the sudden interest in the Elderly was in any way cynical.

Is it too taboo to debate whether we should we be medicating to keep people alive after their minds have gone? Couldn't we withdraw certain medications 'at some point', to allow a dignified end?

captainff said...

Dungeekin - I think she feels like


subrosa said...

What happened to labour MPs today?

mutleythedog said...

None of it fooled me - I am wise to their tricks!!

Trevor Malcolm, Portsmouth, Hampshire said...

Mr Iain Dale, sir: Her Majesty, her royal finger on the pulse of her British Empire subjects, doubtless senses that all present and all absent, from today's daftness - mostly Labour MPs, not surprisingly - doesn't give any more a toss than the electorate will do, come next summer

The Queen joined the "stay at home with Apathy" Party long ago, knowing how best to tow anybody's line, regardless of their political bias, provided she can keep her castles, palaces, horses, corgies and jewellery trinkets safe

Still, at least she's cut her speech down to a mere six minutes, in toto. Thus, she's still adamantly refusing to challenge Mr Jeremy Paxman, 59, of Henley-on-Thames' observation, made in his book on Royalty. That despite - the duration of her reign - (since early 1950's), Her Majesty has not once said anything of the remotest interest at all, let alone touched upon anything controversial

Quite so. in fact, Mr Paxman's sardonic comment sums up why: " ... for, that is Her Majesty's genius ... "

Crikey, a GENIUS? Just for keeping your royal mouth shut, decade after decade. Can politicians, spin-doctors, political bloggers learn from this, at all, I wonder?

Arch anti-monarchists, like the much-missed Labour MP, Willie Hamilton, must be admonishing us all from beyond the grave, with a message of " ... well, I did keep telling you so ... "

Trevor Malcolm
Portsmouth Hampshire



rich_w said...

Re: Social Care Bill: The anticipated costs of such a move are in the region of £670m, which is made up of £420m of new money and the remainder from local government efficiency savings (source).

The government has set out the 3 proposed options for funding adult social care more generally (and not just care in a person's home for those with the most critical needs). In its Green Paper 3 proposals for how adult social care can be funded are put forward by the gov: each involves the government paying a proportion of care costs (between a quarter and a third) with 3 options for how an individual may be able to 'top up': the first is to just pay the balance; the second is to pay into an optional insurance scheme; the third is to pay into a compulsory insurance scheme. In these 3 options, the likely average contribution per person is £20,000 - £22,500; £20,000 - £25,000; or £17,000 - £20,000 respectively.

Sure, the government hasn't adequately explained how its announcement today fits (or otherwise) with its proposals in its Green Paper. Fortunately, the proposals still compare well to the Conservative proposals - that people will need to pay a one-off charge of £8,000 at 65 and will get free residential care, which has implications for both independent living and public sector finances.

I've written on this topic in more detail on arbitrary constant.