The Queen’s Speech has come around again in another ceremonial fanfare of meaningless soundbites and worthless policies.
Cynical, me? Never.
We’re reliably informed that welfare and crime are at the heart of this year’s speech, which is understandable as politicians of almost all persuasions seem to regard most benefit claimants as criminals these days.
There I go again with the cynicism, but with good reason.
The plan to introduce nationwide lie detector tests to catch benefit cheats says all that needs to be said about current Government thinking.
This forms part of the Government’s stated aim – both the Tories and Lib Dems have expressed similar attitudes – that more needs to be done to get the long-term benefit claimants into work.
Although the Government insists there will be exemptions (those with severe disabilities, who are full-time carers or who have children under the age of one, for example), the finger pointing and stereotyping of benefit claimants is far more generalised.
The pronouncements we get tend to be misguided, ill-judged, ill-informed and self-serving, rather than looking to find a proper solution to the on-going problem that is the UK’s benefits system.
The Queen’s Speech is, according to some pundits, Gordon Brown’s attempt to set a more populist agenda.
But is it populist, or does it serve to show just how far out of touch politicians have become with what voters believe and want?
There are plenty of valid reasons why the benefits system needs to be changed. But too often the Government and individual politicians seem more inclined to go after soft and obvious targets rather than dealing with the more difficult central issues.
Campaigns like this are calling for a better welfare state and society, rather than the ill-advised finger pointing and petty political point scoring we continually get at the moment.
It is time for a major change.
It is time our leading politicians changed their attitude and show they care about more than their own welfare.