The Queen’s Speech – What socialists thought

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain
some more poison for workers. Readers of the Socialist tell us what they
thought.

Family friendly measures?

The Families Bill that was proposed in the Queen’s speech may look
like a good idea to those outside the Special Educational Needs (SEN)
community and can be seen as freedom from bureaucratically controlled
council departments.

However all it means is a continuation of privatisation and cuts to already massively overstretched social services departments.

As a father, single parent and carer of two special needs kids and
one adult, I can see the consequences this could entail for me and the
other SEN families that I know.

I was told that if I had direct payments, I could have more respite
as I could negotiate with the carer and pay them less giving me more
hours. So in effect parents and people in need of care will have to make
their own cuts. If the budget provided is not increased either, there
will be less and less respite making life intolerable for families with
SEN children. They say managing budgets will be optional but with the cuts to council services they will not have the staff to do it.

This system is supposed to be in place in our schools already, but
owing to a lack of staff and funding many children slip through the net
or those who do need support are not given support as there is no
adequate funding available. With the current ongoing cuts in education,
this is likely to be just words.

It is likely that children with less noticeable special needs, such
as some cases of autism, will be out of the category altogether
therefore not receiving any help at all and ending up being excluded
from some mainstream schools, especially academies.

What is needed is full public funding for education, the NHS, social
services and other departments to end the profit motive and with
democratic control so that parents, carers, service users and staff can
together plan the best provision possible.

John Gillman, Reading Socialist Party

More attacks on workers and their rights

Paul Gerrard

The coalition government
want to roll back employees’ rights, just like they have rolled back
public sector workers’ pay. A new Bill proposed in the Queen’s speech,
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, will increase the period of
employment required, from one year to two, before you can take a case,
such as unfair dismissal, to tribunal.

Additionally, in future all tribunal cases will have to be referred
first to the arbitration organisation, Acas. Acas’ resources are already
very stretched and, given the government’s deficit-slashing agenda,
there is unlikely to be any investment in Acas to deal with this
additional workload.

The government claims that they must take action to halt the
supposedly “astronomical” rise in tribunal claims. In fact employment
tribunal claims have levelled off recently. This is not likely to be due
to increased worker satisfaction or a decline in bullying but more
likely frustration with a long-winded and expensive process which
usually doesn’t get you your job back.

Behind the scenes

And who is driving this agenda? None other than Adrian Beecroft, a
£100 million venture capitalist. Beecroft has given £530,000 to Tory
funds under David Cameron and in return he was asked to produce a report
on cutting employee rights as a way to ‘boost growth’.

A few Lib Dems squealed and the report has never been published but
the Queen’s Speech has Beecroft’s finger-marks all over it. Beecroft is
chair of Dawn Capital, whose portfolio includes Wonga.com, which offers
short-term loans at scandalous rates of interest up to several thousand
per cent. These are the people Cameron listens to.

Watch out for the bogeyman

Nial Vivian

Terrorism, serious crime, the bogeyman – all of these would justify
the state apparatus leafing through your mail and analysing everything
you’ve read, as part of legislation outlined in the Queen’s speech.

Knowledge that you’ve been in contact with the bogeyman him/herself
is all they need to get a warrant. A warrant to read your mail, to poke
around in your private life and find out one of a million things that
could potentially be used as leverage to have you confess to all manner
of discrepancies.

To justify such measures while at the same time professing to protect
free speech is an insult. If we are to be watched at all turns, to fear
for who may be watching us at every corner, how can we be expected to
freely speak our minds? Where does criticism, a fundamental part of
learning, get a look in? The answer may be as sinister as you would
imagine.

Whether giving up government secrets, speaking out against the regime
or planning action to stop workplace discrimination, they may well be
watching you soon. Recently protesters staged an occupation of Menwith
Hill, the largest US spy base outside the homeland and central to plans
to further the observation of communication in Britain.

This Draft Communications Bill makes the campaign to defend our democratic rights an urgent part of the fight against austerity.

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Read this week's #NSSN bulletin no.566: Workers start 2022 on the picket line!

https://shopstewards.net/2022/01/nssn-566-workers-start-2022-on-the-picket-line/

To all #TUSC supporters Best Wishes for 2022 - let’s see if together we can find hundreds of trades unionists, community campaigners and socialists to challenge austerity at the May local elections in the biggest and widest possible socialist unity.
#Solidarity

2022 and Council Cuts continue
Defend public services
Defend Jobs and Pay
Stop Cuts and Privatisation
Join the fightback in #southampton to @SaveStMarysLC #SocialistSunday #StopCouncilCuts

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