openDemocracyUK

Grading Gordon on the Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech offered Brown what will likely be his last chance to deliver on the new politics he has repeatedly promised.
Guy Aitchison
18 November 2009

At seven minutes, it was certainly a short speech. The main focus was clearly on building a manifesto platform on the economy, the budget deficit, and social care, to fight the next election.  But this was also the first Queen's speech since Westminster's name was dragged through the gutter by expenses and the last before an imminent general election. So, where was the bold action we were promised to redistribute power and rebuild trust in politics?

At the height of the crisis, back in June, the Prime Minister urged us to "seize the moment to lift our politics to a higher standard. In the midst of doubt, let us revive confidence. Let us stand together because on this at least I think we all agree: that Britain deserves a political system equal to the hopes and character of our people."

Stirring stuff, eh? In fact it's reminiscent of another speech Brown made, his very first to Parliament as Prime Minister, when he spoke rousingly of a "new British constitutional settlement" that would build "a new relationship between citizens and government that ensures that Government is a better servant of the people."

It's seems obvious today (if it wasn't already after two years of inaction) that Brown is all talk and no trousers when it comes to democratic reform. The puny Constitutional Reform Bill, which has been dragged out and progressively weakened over the last two years, offers nothing new. While the draft Lords reform bill, which proposes an 80% to 100% elected chamber, will simply mean more debate on something Labour pledged to do twelve years ago and which the Commons voted to support back in 2007.

Today's Queen's Speech offered Brown what will likely be his last chance to set out the new politics he has repeatedly promised us. I doubt many people will believe he can deliver after today's performance.

If you want to cast your verdict, and perhaps let off a little steam, you can use this fun Grade Gordon tool put together for POWER2010.

What do you think? Is Brown top of the class, can things only get better, or is he a Brown Fail?

Is this the "new politics" you've been waiting for?

POWER2010 will present your report to him at the end of term on Wednesday 16th December.

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