JEREMY CORBYN compared David Cameron’s Tory government a “driverless car heading in the wrong direction” yesterday after a Queen’s speech bereft of big ideas.

For all the pomp and ceremony of the state opening of Parliament, the programme for government unveiled was widely viewed as a wafer-thin diversion from Tory divisions over Europe.

And the paucity of policy which inspired Mr Corbyn’s quip saw plans for “autonomous and electric vehicles” promoted to the top of the list of 20 new laws unveiled in Ms Windsor’s address to the Lords.

“New laws to make the UK ready to pioneer driverless cars” will be part of a Modern Transport Bill, boasted the first page of the executive summary of the government’s plans.

Plans for prison reform, a seven-day NHS and a “Northern Powerhouse” were also reannounced to pad out the parliamentary timetable.

In his response, Mr Corbyn said: “If anyone wants to deliver a more equal society, an economy that works for everyone and a society that works for all, it takes an active government to do it, not the driverless car heading in the wrong direction that we have in this government.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called it a “cut-and-paste” speech of proposals that “fail to tackle the real problems Britain faces.

“Ministers are keen to sell today’s plans as a wide-ranging set of social reforms, but what the proposals lack is a real plan to rebuild Britain in the wake of unprecedented cuts to public spending,” he said.

Mr Cameron attempted to paint the Queen’s speech as a programme of “progressive reform” which will “extend life chances for all” and could only be delivered because of strong economic performance.

It promised a finance Bill that will “tackle poverty and the causes of deprivation,” an infrastructure Bill to “create jobs and more apprenticeships” and a children and social work Bill which is to “ensure that children can be adopted by new families without delay.”

But Mr Corbyn said the government’s vague promises will do nothing to “create a more equal society, an economy that works for everyone and a society in which there is opportunity for all.

“Still this government does not seem to understand that cuts have their consequences,” he blasted.

“This austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity, and it’s a wrong choice for our country made by a government with the wrong priorities — and it’s women that have been hit hardest by these cuts.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas added: “All this talk of a ‘one nation’ Queen’s speech is a meaningless side show from a government intent on dividing this country with its relentless pursuit of austerity.

“Just a few months ago we had another eye-watering Budget — and further cuts to local services are now hitting hard. The idea that the government can build social reform on the carcass of a gutted welfare state is a fallacy.”

There were also divisive plans for legislation in education, which will force more schools to become academies and could see university tuition fees uncapped.

And a new counter-extremism and safeguarding Bill to give the police “stronger powers to disrupt extremists and protect the public” made an appearance.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This year’s speech feels like a missed opportunity.

“Instead of announcing much-needed investment in core industries, like manufacturing and construction, ministers are trying to push through damaging changes to our schools and universities.

“And while the government is right to focus on dealing with extremism, it mustn’t forget to tackle the root causes.”

Source: Morning Star :: PM is ‘a driverless car going the wrong way’ | The Peoples Daily

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