QUEEN’S SPEECH:Making the poor pay & more police powers


THE Queen’s Speech yesterday was dominated by the unprecedented world financial crisis and deepening slump, and its impact on decrepit British imperialism.

It opened: ‘My government’s overriding priority is to ensure the stability of the British economy during the global economic downturn.’

It added: ‘The strength of the financial sector is vital to the future vibrancy of the economy. Legislation will be taken forward . . . to improve the resilience of the financial sector.’

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government then spelt out how it will attempt to make the poor pay for the capitalist crisis.

It also plans to increase police powers to deal with the ensuing revolutionary reaction of the working class to its counter-revolutionary measures.

The government declared that it would forge ahead with plans to dismantle what remains of the welfare state – the benefits system, the National Health Service (NHS) and state education.

The Speech stated: ‘A Bill will be brought forward to reform the welfare system to improve incentives for people to move from benefits to sustained employment . . . and ensure greater choice and control for disabled people.’

The government wants to force 600,000 single parents, with children over the age of seven, off Income Support and onto the Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). Even parents with children as young as one year old will be forced to demonstrate they are ‘progressing to work’, or they will lose their benefits.

The disabled will be subjected to draconian medical examinations to get them off their benefit entitlements, and declare them unemployed and on the JSA.

Talk of ‘choice and control’ is a smokescreen for government dictates.

The Brown government also intends to step up its attacks on the NHS through a new Health Bill that will embed in law an NHS Constitution, setting out the rights and responsibilities of patients and staff.

This will get rid of the universal entitlement to healthcare of a high quality, free at the point of need.

It will be replaced with a service based on ‘core values’ and provide ‘core services’. The well-off can buy the care they need and the poor will get minimal services.

The Brown regime is bringing in Bills for more police powers, border controls and immigration laws.

The Queen’s Speech unveiled a new Policing and Crime Bill for ‘protecting the public and ensuring national security’ and a Coroners and Justice Bill which will scrap juries in some cases.

In its crackdown on people coming to Britain from outside Europe, the government is bringing in a Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill ‘to strengthen border controls and to bring together customs and immigration controls’.

The discriminatory character of its provisions is made clear in that ‘newcomers to the UK must earn the right to stay’. Those seeking citizenship must ‘make an effort to integrate’.

The Brown regime has made clear that it will do everything to rescue bankrupt British capitalism, make the poor pay and use the state against those who resist.

Leaders of the trade unions, like TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, have rightly condemned the attacks on the benefits system, where claimants are labelled as ‘lazy’.

However, action speaks louder than words!

Workers must make their unions defend every job, fight every pay cut and demand the nationalisation of every workplace threatened with closure, with occupations and mass strikes.

The unions must become the champions of the poor, who are in the weakest position to stand up for their rights.

Most union leaders have shown repeatedly that they will do anything to protect the Brown government from the angry reaction of their members. They are sure to applaud this anti-working class Queen’s Speech.

So it is time to build a new leadership in the trade unions that will mobilise this powerful movement to bring down the Brown regime and go forward to a workers’ government that will implement socialist policies.

Join the Workers Revolutionary Party today and build a new revolutionary leadership in the trade unions!