Ed Miliband?s response to the Queen?s speech debate

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Ed Miliband?s response to the Queen?s speech debate
« on: May 08, 2013, 09:17:39 PM »


Ed Miliband?s response to the Queen?s speech debate

Posted: 08 May 2013 07:58 AM PDT

Ed?s response to the Queen?s speech, which sets out the government?s legislative priorities is below:
I am sure the whole House will wish to join me in paying tribute to those who have died in Afghanistan since we last met.
Corporal William Thomas Savage and Fusilier Samuel Flint, both from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
And Private Robert Murray Hetherington from 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
They died on patrol, serving our country and remind us all of the dangers our troops face day in day out across Afghanistan.
They showed the utmost courage and our thoughts are with their family and friends.
Let me also repeat from this side of the House that we support our mission in Afghanistan and also the timetable for withdrawal of our troops
 who have given such extraordinary service to our country.
As is customary, I would like to pay tribute to those Members of this House who have died since the last Queen?s Speech.
Sir Stuart Bell was the son of a miner. He became a lawyer and then represented Middlesbrough for nearly 30 years. He was a kind decent man, passionate about Europe and served with distinction as a Church Commissioner.

For those members who want to read about his years in the House he also wrote an autobiography.
Tongue-in-cheek, it was called ?Tony Really Loves Me?.
Mr Speaker, at times, I know exactly what he meant.
We have also lost Malcolm Wicks.
Malcolm was one of the deepest thinkers in this House, a brilliant Minister and one of the nicest people you could meet.
He faced his illness with the utmost bravery.
And right to the end he was passionate about his constituency, his politics, and his country.
Both Stuart and Malcolm are sorely missed by us all, as well as by their family and friends.
Let me turn to the proposer and seconder of the loyal address.
The proposer, the Honourable Member for Mid Worcestershire did so with great skill, wit and drew on the experience of his twenty years in this House.
The Honourable Member has decided to stand down from parliament.
He will be remembered, certainly by me, and I?m sure by others, for his courteousness and decency.
He is also to be congratulated for a campaign he has just launched, based on a long interest of his: to inspire more young people to take up careers in engineering and technology.
It has cross-party support and deserves to do so.
The Honourable Member has always been on the moderate, now the unfashionable, wing of the Conservative Party, working for Lord Walker and Sir Edward Heath before entering this House.
It was that voice of moderation that on Friday sought to find a third way as far as the Conservative response to UKIP is concerned.
He tweeted, and this is original Mr Speaker, ?I hold clowns in high regard and respect their role??
He shares a name with another prominent figure in public life.
The other Peter Luff.
The long-time chairman of the pro-European Movement.
So exasperated did the Honourable Member become by the attacks from angry Eurosceptics that he signed one letter:
?Peter Luff MP for Mid Worcestershire and NOT the Peter Luff who used to run the European Movement ? he?s somebody else (and he?s) about two years older than me!?
Unfortunately the gist of the reply was:
?Dear Peter, we are well aware of the existence of two Peter Luffs. And we don?t like either of you.?
Today, there could be no confusion as to his identity.
He performed his role uniquely well.
Let me turn to the seconder, the Honourable Member for Bristol West.
Despite being elected eight years ago, he will be pleased to hear that today, by tradition of the gracious speech, he occupies the role of young, rising star.
That is certainly his pedigree.
He was a councillor at 26, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Bristol aged 28.
He was the first openly gay Liberal Democrat MP, and he spoke incredibly movingly in the debate on same sex marriage earlier this year.
He was surely right when he said: ?Equality is not something that can be delivered partially-equality is absolute.?
He has also, according to his website, chosen to use the power of Parliament to campaign on other important issues, including the use of consultants to avoid tax by multinational firms.
And it turns out he?s very well qualified to do this.
Because what was his job before entering this House?
He was a tax consultant to multinational firms.
To be fair, he has never been afraid to take on his opponents.
He was once confronted by angry protesting students outside his office before the top-up fees vote.
But he didn?t hide away, he took up the megaphone, looked the crowd directly in the face, and in true Liberal Democrat style, told them he hadn?t yet decided how he was going to vote.
Today, he spoke very well, and I am sure he will be pleased to hear that after listening to his speech I am happy to add my endorsement to his prospects for ministerial office.
And while I?m paying compliments Mr Speaker, I won?t let this day pass without paying a tribute to the most successful football manager the world has ever seen.
A great supporter of the Reds you might call him. Sir Alex Ferguson, phenomenally talented at his job, winner of thirteen championships, who can teach us all about team work and dedication.
That takes me to the question that must be asked about this Gracious Speech.
Whether it is equal to the scale of challenge our country faces?
Whether it matches the scale of disillusionment about the direction of the country we all heard during these county council elections?
The real lesson of UKIP?s vote, and the two-thirds of people who didn?t vote in these elections, is a deep sense that the country is not working for them.
They see a country where things are getting worse not better.
One million young people looking for work.
Low growth, falling wages and squeezed living standards.
So does the Government understand the difficulties the people of Britain face?
The signs aren?t good.
At the weekend they sent out the Foreign Secretary.
He told us that the elections had ?sent a clear message to the Government?.
But his answer was, and I quote, ?to shout louder? about their achievements.
In other words, it?s a version of the old tune:
The Government has a communications problem.
No Mr Speaker, the Government has a reality problem.
And all the twists and turns with UKIP:
Insulting them, ignoring them, imitating them won?t work while that remains the case.
This gracious speech was their chance to answer.
It should have contained:
Action to get our young people working again.
Action for real banking reform.
Action to get growth moving.
And action to genuinely confront the cost of living crisis.
But it fails on all counts.
The country has big problems, but this Queen?s Speech has no answers.
They may have legislated for five years in office, but they?re out of ideas after three.
Think of the young people we all met during this election campaign.
Imagine what they feel looking for a job in the Britain of 2013.
And think how their families feel when they can?t find one.
Britain cannot afford to waste their talents.
The Prime Minister promised change but things have got worse not better.
There are now four times more young people claiming benefits for more than a year than when the work programme was introduced.
And what does this gracious speech offer to those young people?
Absolutely nothing.
No change.
Where is the job guarantee for Britain?s young people?
And where are the rules tying government contracts to providing apprenticeships?
We will support the Government on High Speed Two.
But when the Government?s handing out the contracts to get this line built, why doesn?t it require companies to take on apprentices?
That would be good for young people.
Good for business.
And good for our country.
That is rights and responsibilities in action.
Next the banks.
We all meet many small businesses.
And we all hear the same story.
They put in the hours, they take the risks.
But the banks make life harder, not easier, for them.
The Prime Minister promised change but things have got worse not better.
 Small businesses don?t need to be told that lending to businesses is falling month on month.
They know it.
It fell again by ?4.8 billion in the three months to February.
And no one listening today will be given any hope that anything will be different now.
The Banking Commission called for a clear ultimatum to Britain?s banking system.
Change the culture, deliver for business, or we will break high street from casino banking across the board.
They called for an answer.
And what have we got:
Another fudge from the Chancellor, that the Banking Commission says does not go far enough.
And a Banking Bill that also fails to deliver a regional banking system that will deliver for British businesses, not rip them off.
On living standards, we all met so many people in this campaign struggling to get by.
At least now the Government acknowledges there?s a living standards crisis in this country.
But there is no real action to tackle it in the speech today.
The Prime Minister promised change but things have got worse not better.
The Government tries to tell people they?re better off.
But they know the reality: they?re worse off.
Wages down ?1,700 since the election.
With tax and benefit changes hitting families by an average of ?891.
There is one group that is better off.
The people sitting opposite on the Government front bench.
From the millionaires? tax cut.
No wonder the Right Honorable Member for Haltemprice and Howden says this is a Government that looks ?privileged and out of touch?.
He says: ?Please please no more old Etonian advisers.?
I think he?s right.
It?s time for some diversity.
Let?s have someone from Harrow.
Now perhaps the Prime Minister will follow the advice of the Work and Pensions Secretary.
If wealthy pensioners are meant to be handing back their Winter Fuel Payments, why doesn?t he set an example and hand back the tax cut he?s given himself?
The Big Society in action.
For everyone else this speech has no answers.
No action on train fares, on payday loans, and on private pension charges.
And no real reform that breaks the dominance of the big six energy companies.
On housing we all know the difficulties families are facing, because for all the press notices from this Government, homes just aren?t being built.
The Prime Minister promised change but things have got worse not better.
Housing completions are now at their lowest level since the 1920s.
And since this lot came to power, 89,000 construction workers have lost their jobs.
No answers to Britain?s housing crisis.
Now on immigration, this clearly was an issue that many people raised during the campaign.
On the proposals they make, these are limited measures that they have announced before.
And they fail to tackle the issues of jobs and pay at the heart of people?s concerns:
Those employers who use cheap labour, through both illegal and legal migrants, to exploit and undercut workers already here.
By not paying the minimum wage.
Through recruitment agencies only using overseas labour.
And with slum landlords using overcrowded housing.
There is nothing on any of these measures in this Bill.
And why?
Because this Government?s whole economic approach is based on a race to the bottom in wages and conditions.
We will seek to amend the bill to take action to deal with these problems.
None of this will solve the growth crisis the country faces.
Even the Chancellor must recognize that having forecast six per cent growth over the last two and a half years, one per cent isn?t good enough.
When you look at what?s happening to our young people and our businesses, the squeeze on living standards, it is his failure that is the explanation.
Instead of fighting to stop the IMF telling him to change course, he should follow their advice and do so.
They?re not a Government with the answers for the British public in this Gracious Speech.
Instead as always they stand up for the wrong people.
From the people who brought you the millionaires? tax cut, here?s the latest instalment.
This is what they used to say about cigarette packaging:
?It?s wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets ? children should be protected from the start.?
That was the previous Health Secretary.
Before they hired their new strategist.
The one whose company worked for big tobacco.
And now what?s happened?
They?ve dropped the bill.
This is what the Prime Minister used to say about lobbying: it was ?the next big scandal waiting to happen?.
That was before the scandal happened.
To him.
Dinners for donors in Downing Street.
And now what?s happened?
They?ve dropped the bill.
And on the communications bill he had a chance to tackle powerful media monopolies.
That brought him Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks.
And now what?s happened?
What a surprise.
They?ve dropped the bill.
With such a short programme, he can hardly say there wasn?t room for these.
It?s not a timetabling problem.
It?s a problem of whose side he?s on.
He can?t provide the direction the country needs because he stands up for the wrong people.
And let me say to him, if his excuse is it?s because of the people behind him that he?s dropped these bills we?ll help him.
If he wants a bill on cigarette packaging ? we?ll help him get it through.
If he wants a communications bill ? we?ll help him get it through.
If he wants a bill on lobbying ? we?ll help him.
He can?t provide the answers the country needs, because he?s lost control of his party.
Or as someone once said:
He?s in office but not in power.
What is his party spending their time talking about?
Not youth unemployment.
Not the NHS.
Not the living standards crisis we face.
But the one subject they?re obsessing about day in day out.
The Honourable Member for Wellingborough has characteristically led the charge.
It?s time to stop insulting UKIP he says.
Instead he wants an electoral pact with them.
The Honourable Member for Mid-Somerset has gone further.
He wants a coalition right now with UKIP.
Mr Speaker, they used to call them clowns.
Now they want to join the circus.
But I think his MPs forget something:
The whole point of the Prime Minister?s Europe speech in January was to ?head off UKIP?.
Tory MPs were crowing that the UKIP fox had been shot.
It was job done.
Mission accomplished.
Only it wasn?t.
The lesson for the Prime Minister is you can?t out-Farage Farage
Banging on about Europe won?t convince the public.
And the people behind him will just keep coming back for more.
A Europe referendum tomorrow.
Drop same sex marriage.
The demands go on and on.
They will never be satisfied.
And every day he spends dealing with the problem behind him he?s not dealing with the problems facing the country.
No wonder this Queens speech has no answers.
Three wasted years.
Today another wasted chance.
A no answers Queen?s speech
From a tired and failing government.
Out of touch.
Out of ideas.
Standing up for the wrong people
And unable to bring the change this country needs.

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