SO UNINSPIRED was his performance that Rishi Sunak might as well as have phoned in his Commons opening following the King’s Speech.
Both consort and King looked so uncomfortable on the throne that they both might have had a bad case of the piles. Lucky for them they got away as soon as the medieval make-believe was over.
For those MPs who bother to turn up, there is a six-day debate and 21 Bills to consider.
Bizarre then that the Tories think they can gain traction by presenting a Labour leader as unpatriotic and dodgy on defence when he is so draped in the butcher’s apron that he might find himself decorating a League of Empire Loyalists pageant.
So loyal to the empire is Keir Starmer that he might equally appear on a recruitment poster for the US Marine Corps.
The real essence of the government programme is yet more bungs for big business and the banks, regressive fossil fuel measures designed to sabotage our climate change commitments, yet more anti-union laws and a continued reliance on failing market measures to fix the housing crisis, healthcare, education and transport.
While the government has failed to grasp the human and economic necessity to renew our broken Britain with controls on capital, massive public investment in productive industry and education and the replacement of our parasitic financial system with public ownership of the banks, Labour’s limp approach is a guarantee that not much will change if Starmer gets to make the speech next year.
The TUC decision to hold a special conference on the government attack on workers’ rights is a sign that the forces that can change the direction of domestic politics are beginning to rally.
This must be an early warning that industrial action is the instrument best suited to challenge the Tories class war offensive when Labour’s front bench is frit.
When teachers’ leader Daniel Kebede, Mick Lynch of the RMT and firefighters’ leader Matt Wrack repudiate the Tory threat to this weekend’s Gaza ceasefire demonstrations and announce that they will take to the streets, it must be an example others follow.
Credit, then, to Labour frontbencher Imran Hussain, who resigned from the shadow cabinet in order to campaign for a ceasefire in Gaza when his leader seems more intent of sanctioning Israel’s war on a generation of Palestinian children.
Hussain may have had his political instincts and moral stance strengthened by his bruising experience in 2012 when, as Labour candidate, he took a drubbing from anti-war MP George Galloway in a Bradford constituency where British Muslims made up a good proportion of the electorate.
The SNP, which is rumoured to be thinking of forcing a ceasefire vote, too is more attuned to British public opinion, while Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana is to table an amendment for an “immediate ceasefire” in a move that promises to rally a body of MPs from other opposition parties.
All this is to the good, but it remains that equally distasteful to the Tory legislative programme is the stage on which the tawdry spectacle of the King’s Speech is held.
For our elected representatives to troop in supplicant mode to a house of inherited privilege and unworthy patronage and there to crouch before an unelected monarch goes against every democratic instinct.
When Sunak and Starmer lead the Commons procession to the Lords on such occasions, it is expressive of their bipartisan unity in administering capitalist Britain and the nonsensical idea that Charles is a king for all of us.
In a British confederal republic, MPs would swear loyalty to the nation, not the head of an imported foreign dynasty.
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