By Daniel Pitt
The much-trumpeted Queen’s Speech on May 9th showed a deep-seated contempt for the problems facing the polity and the all-round crises facing society. This coming session of Parliament covers the year until May 2013. It follows the extremely long parliamentary session since the Coalition assumed power. During this time, the Coalition has attempted to remove itself from accountability to the electorate through the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. It has pushed through an agenda of capital-centred measures aimed at ensuring the interests of the monopolies are held sacrosanct. In this period, the watchword of the working class and has become simple: There Is An Alternative! However, the present legislative programme shows no indication that the Coalition has acknowledged that this banner has been raised. It follows that the movement to build the Workers’ Opposition to the Coalition’s agenda must be intensified.
The government is not even recognising that the interests of society are paramount, and continued to ignore the problems of the polity. Instead there is an emphasis on the interests of business, attacking social programmes and unloading all the burdens of the crisis onto the people. This is the context of the 2012-13 legislative programme. It is worth remembering that the Coalition’s first legislative programme was based on the notion of “freedom, fairness and responsibility” because this programme has exposed in very practical terms what these notions represented. “Freedom” has meant the dismantling of public services and social programmes. “Fairness” has meant that “we are all in this together” and therefore the working class and people must continue to shoulder the burden of society paying the rich. “Responsibility” has meant that there would be no alternative to “austerity” measures, cuts to social programmes and “reducing the deficit”. The programme has been anti-worker, anti-social, as well as pro-war. The agenda of the coming programme is based on taking this programme further and consolidating it. The Queen’s Speech defined it as being based on “economic growth, justice and constitutional reform”. Taken at face value, these words do represent fundamental issues which require addressing in society. A new direction for the economy is necessary, the rights of the people need to receive a legal guarantee and a constitution to vest sovereignty in the people and enshrine their rights is urgently required. These are some of the most fundamental problems facing the polity. But, although it is shocking, it is no surprise that the Coalition’s programme will intensify the agenda that is been causing havoc in these crucial fronts in society. The programme goes in the opposite direction to what the alternative demands. The attack on the rights of the working people will not provide economic growth, but on the contrary will further wreck the economy. It is capital-centred irrationality. Similarly with the attacks on pension rights, and the further dismantling of public services. The programme to attack the conception of public services and the demand that the individual must fend for themselves is unacceptable, and will not be accepted.
The government is also caught with its programme of constitutional reform, which is aimed at furthering the arbitrary power of the executive under the guise of democratisation. As the 2012-13 parliamentary session gets underway, it is essential that the working class gets further organised in order to discuss the alternative, a different direction for the economy and society, and go further into the opposing outlooks which are contending in society. This goes hand in hand with getting further organised in order to develop ways of resisting the Coalition’s programme which is causing such damage to society. The Queen’s Speech has confirmed that the government is determined to avoid accountability for the fate of society and is acting in the interests of the owners of monopoly capital. It remains the responsibility of the workers’ movement to unite the polity in effective opposition to this programme and to fight for the alternative.