The Queen’s Speech: 15 Bills, but only 33 days left of Parliament:

Labour has today promised “guarantees not gambles” as it used the final Queen’s Speech to draw dividing lines with the Conservatives ahead of the general election.

The Queen set out the Government’s legislative agenda for the 33 sitting days left until the last date for a general election, in a programme containing 13 Bills and two draft Bills.

The measures include plans to reform the financial services industry, new rights for employers to allow them to positively discriminate, greater powers to disconnect internet download cheats, and plans to give free care to the most vulnerable.

But the package, described by a Cabinet minister as the “most political in 12 years” has caused consternation because critics say much of the legislation is of no benefit to voters but is instead designed to “smoke out” the Conservatives.

However, Daniel Finkelstein tells us of his experience of focus group polling about a past Queen’s speech:

Well, the pollster said slowly, here’s the thing. They didn’t answer any of the questions you posed because, erm, they’d never heard of the announcement. None of them. At all. They sort of knew who Gordon Brown was, they weren’t totally sure what a billion was, although it sounded like a lot of money, but they most certainly hadn’t come across this spending stuff.

While that seems rather bleak, it does demonstrate that power and people have become too distant. This is why we have to bring power closer to the people.

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