Cameron’s Empty words

by Daphne Liddle

THE QUEEN on Wednesday morning delivered David Cameron’s announcement of his intentions in the coming parliamentary session — a programme full of buzzwords, clichés and pandering to racist scapegoating that will change very little in the coming months as the next general election looms nearer.

Cameron claimed this was a programme to benefit “hard working families” that consisted of shovelling more and more of the responsibility of delivering care and benefits on to local authorities that do not have the resources — financial or personnel — to meet those responsibilities.

This will of course make new opportunities for private agencies to find a niche to make a profit out of other people’s misfortune.

He dresses this up as new measures to make life easier for the less fortunate but they go nowhere near replacing the safety-net benefits that he has already abolished.

Cameron says he will continue with the measures to “help more unemployed people into work”. But there is no mention of any investment in creating jobs. It is more likely he will be helping the unemployed — along with the sick and disabled — into absolute destitution and the gutter.

His cap on total annual benefits for any household to £26,000-a-year has already triggered a small avalanche of eviction notices to families “who may not be able to pay their full rent” from “social housing” landlords in the handful of boroughs where the cap is being tested. Social workers are warning tenant families they are likely to have to move out within a fortnight.

Another 56,000 families can expect these eviction notices when the cap is imposed nationwide. Cameron’s bill to help pensioners with the costs of social care will only help the richest. The National Pensioners' Convention general secretary Dot Gibson said: "The Government intends to ask anyone with assets or income above £118,000 to pay £72,000 in care costs before they receive any help from the state.

“This plan will help around one in 10 people — whilst the rest will never get any help at all."

His measures “to help first time home buyers” also will only help the rich minority. With house prices as they are very few can even contemplate starting to buy a home before they reach middle age. There’s nothing about building more affordable homes or capping rents.

Cameron wants to change the law so it is easier to expel immigrants it does not want. And even immigrants from within Europe will only be able to draw unemployment benefits for six months. If they cannot get a job in that time they must make their way home or join the growing army of homeless destitute eastern Europeans sleeping rough in London.

This is a sop to the racism and xenophobia that has been generated by the huge amount of media publicity given to the modest gains won by the United Kingdom Independence Party in last week’s local elections.

But this Queen’s speech has no mention at all of any changes regarding the Government’s intentions regarding the European Union. That issue is a keg of dynamite likely sooner or later to blow the Tory party apart — never mind the Coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

Unions responded quickly. Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "This was an empty Queen's Speech. There is nothing here to support the economy, create jobs or to boost housing. It was short, but definitely not sweet."

"The Queen's Speech is more about trying to head-off UKIP and quell a backbench revolt than deliver a legislative programme to get Britain back on track. David Cameron's true intentions will be revealed in the Comprehensive Spending Review in June, which is likely to continue this Government's austerity addiction.”

Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With its policies causing untold damage to our economy and our communities it is shameful of the Government to try to stoke up even more fear and suspicion of migrants.

"This is not so much 'dog whistle' politics, more a shrill and desperate cry to satisfy the extremes of the Tory party.

"Instead of scapegoating migrants, and forcing people to work longer before being entitled to a state pension, the Government should invest to create jobs and opportunities, and target the tax dodgers who deprive our economy of tens of billions of pounds a year."

This is a programme of legislation that panders to the rich and xenophobic while ignoring the existence of the working class.