The government’s plan outlined in this year’s Queen speech has many strong points, though some are unavoidably controversial. although The pledge to increase the provision of free child care is a step in the right direction that goes towards helping the working parent and appreciating the the importance of adequate childcare. The health of our children is infinitely valuable, there can therefore may no complaints in this area. The plan to control immigration is also a positive one, but we have heard this kind of promise before. Immigration has long been a sore topic in this country, though it is difficult to tell if this pledge is directly linked with the promised EU referendum or the legitimate need to control the numbers that come into Britain to abuse it. Genuine migrants who are here for a better life by working hard deserve the right to live among us provided they are not here to soak us dry. Nevertheless, one fact of history many are unaware of is the fact that many of our English ancestors were immigrants. Although both my parents are white English, down the line we have Swedish, German, and a wide range of blood lineage. My forefathers immigrated to this country for a better life. So, the real issue is not having too many people abuse the system through laziness, whether they are from EU countries or from here in England.
The plan to reform welfare by capping benefits is another good variation of the current system. Laziness must be kicked out of the British system completely. Welfare benefits are a means of subsistence, not just for those out of work but actively seeking work. Individuals who rely on this chicken feed at the expense of developing skills to work will be forced to do something different under the new system once in place. Some will frown at the plan to stop housing benefits for 18-21 year old’s, but this can be seen as an indirect incentive for teenagers to work hard and earn good money enough to pay their rent. An obvious weakness is that unless the government ensures that many 18-21 year old’s have enough education or skills that make them capable of work, it may simply mean them staying at home longer. Those on the streets, like alcoholics may simply end up committing more crime to feed their habit and maintain the basic subsistence the welfare state previously afforded them. The benefits do still outweigh the negatives, unless I am missing something crucial here. Cameron does not want to crumble families, this can be deduced by his policies. He already made reference to helping troubled families, therefore his tough law should be seen as tough love.
The term ‘troubled family program’ used in the Queen’s speech, was new to me but one that accurately defines a lot of families in Britain. Children from dysfunctional homes are a currently a drain on the system- a family where parents are immature and stagnant will only have serious repercussions for the children and thechildren from other homes whom these children may impact negatively. A system that coerces children and families to learn and develop skills will improve families altogether, and the country as a whole. The goal to provide 2 million more jobs and 3 million more apprenticeships is an ambitious but viable objective. The support of ownership, and extension of the right to buy scheme to £1.3 million social housing tenants in England sounds great. Will this actually be achieved? Politicians have many times failed to deliver on their promises but this one can be achieved. Eye of Media will keep a watchful eye. The ambitious plans enlisted are more than commendable, and will be seen as a sign that the government plan to move the country forward.
Britain has always led the way in terms of providing free education as far as elementary and secondary schools are concerned, but seems to have struggled greatly in terms of addressing failing schools. We must be realistic, there is no automatic recipe for ensuring success in every school. Many schools accept people who live in the catchment area, and this means taking on children from weak backgrounds and from ‘troubled families’. A school that has a large number of weak background children will always have a tough task in effectively transforming the academic strengths of the school as a whole. They would have the challenging task of identifying the psychological and academic issues that hinder the development of that child, let alone of several other children belonging to a similar bracket.
There is also a problem of motivation for many children. This problem added to the behavioural problem that follows, the rampant stress on teachers. Only a few years ago there was a lot of publicity about a scheme to improve literacy, yet Britain is bottom of the league in literacy among their European counterparts according to a report released yesterday. This news is sad reading.
Early intervention will be useful . Such provisions should include supervised play opportunities, socialization, speech development, therapy, safeguarding etc. Legislation will therefore need to be more diverse and rounded in the area of failing schools, though the question is whether the government have the required know how to actually achieve this. More research may be required to fully alert the government of the size of the task. The help of psychologists may also be useful.
NECESSARY BAN ON LEGAL HIGHS
A surprising area raised in the speech was the banning of legal highs. In the wake of a few deaths and several hospitalizations of people,the government have realized that they have a potentially deadly drug legitimately sold in the shops as a legal product despite its obvious dangerous effects. Legislation to introduce a blanket ban on legal highs is to protect UK citizens from the risks posed by ”unknown and potentially harmful drugs”. New laws will make it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess, import or export psychoactive substances.
All smoking is bad for the health but no dispute will be raised with respect to the grave danger legal highs pose. There would be a stark conflict of interest in trying to improve the quality of schools and get people to work if people could just walk down the shop and buy legal highs which they could introduce to 12 year old’s as though it were just a cigarette. The ban is definitely necessary and long overdue, although criminals might decide to provide it on the black market as an alternative to cannabis. Whatever happens, it is still good to see this banned.
TRADE UNIONS REFORM TOUGH BUT FAIR
Trade Unions will need 50% ballott turn out to vote, with a majority in support before a strike will be legal in the eyes of the law. The mandatory threshold of 40% vote in favor, particularly in key serves like the NHS, education, fire fighters etc, all sounds fine to me . But critics of the new scheme point out that the same threshold was not applied to the 11 Cabinet Ministers elected. They say had the same 40% requirement of the electorate vote been used, the Tories would have come up short. Not a bad point, but the criteria for determining selection for the Cabinet need not be the same as that in determining whether there are legitimate reasons for a strike, reflected through the proportion of those in support. I am cautiously on the side of the government here. Some order is necessary in every organisation, strike action disadvantage people unconnected with the dispute. However, if there is sufficient support for the strike this would seemingly add weight to the issue of concern causing to the strike. In this sense, the prime Minister’s’ stipulations are actually more sensible than they appear
BILL OF RIGHTS MAKES SENSE BUT LONG TERM CONSIDERATION TO AXE HUMAN RIGHTS IS FLAWED
His plans to scrap the Human Rights Acts were postponed to avoid a revolt by his backbenchers. His opponents on this issue are more right that wrong, for Human Rights, by the very word and concept should not be abandoned. Substituting his plan for a bill of rights makes more sense, though this sense is compromised by the fact this is a short term plan. France and Belgium have already vetoed any idea of supporting Cameron’s future plans to have his own way on the EU. It seems he will also struggle to have his way on the Human Rights Act. Although he has alot of support from Britain’s widely read Sun Newspaper , the prime Minister might need a lot more than that to get his way. The fact terrorists have used the HRA to escape deportation is something Cameron can propose to have altered for the sake of national security, or one about which a declaration of incompatibility according to sec. 3 of the Human Rights Act can be exercised. The concern of terrorists in itself is not enough reason to abandon the Human Rights, but rather its stipulated requirements can be reformed.
Furthermore, David Cameron’s judgement in leaving the decision to remain in the EU to a national referendum by 2017 is not unreasonable, though the potential repercussions of us leaving the Union may be more costly and detrimental than most appreciate now. Accompanying that referendum must be a full explanation of the pros and cons of leaving the Union, so that the British public can make a well informed decision. A voted decision based on ignorance will be tantamount to an ignorant decision. All in all, the Queen’s speech set some tough laws together with many progressive and positive laws. It is a waiting game to see how it actually plays out. It may turn out for the better or worse. Only hindsight will tell us how positive these laws will be.