The Alternative Queen's Speech offers popular, pro-poor and broadly-based legislation
By Tim Montgomerie
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What would the Queen's Speech have looked like if a majority Conservative government had been elected two years ago? That's the question we attempt to answer in the Alternative Queen's Speech that ConservativeHome publishes today.
It will, no doubt, be presented by some commentators as a Right-wing agenda - or as a "lurch to the Right". By Right many people mean extreme, or mean-spirited or narrow. In today's Guardian I explain why - what I prefer to call Majority Conservatism - is none of these things.
- Majority Conservatism is popular. Big majorities of the British people want tougher control of immigration, a referendum on Europe, lower taxes on fuel and income, more conditionality in welfare and less community punishment of repeat and serious offenders.
- Majority Conservatism is pro-poor. In The Guardian I write: "Polly Toynbee has herself acknowledged that it's the working class who have suffered most from uncontrolled immigration. I would argue that Europe has also been bad for those on the lowest incomes. The EU's common agricultural policy has inflated the average family's grocery bill and its energy regime has made it more expensive for pensioners to heat their homes." Within this Alternative Queen's Speech there will be a number of measures that aim to bring more competition to education, water supply, banking and energy because choice and transparency are the two tools that most empower the little guy against big business.
- Majority Conservatism is balanced and broad. This is the bit where I repeat that we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. A majority party won't just talk about Europe, tax, crime, immigration, defence and welfare. It will also be committed to healthcare, family life, education, social enterprise and so on. It's full spectrum or full orchestra conservatism. Boris Johnson is the example of this. He is the Heineken Tory because he's both a traditional Tory but comfortable at using government when necessary and also at ease with modern Britain and hopeful about its future.
The Alternative Queen's Speech has no single author or group of authors. I'm grateful to MPs like David Davis and John Redwood for contributing individual ideas to it. You may have heard David on yesterday's The World This Weekend talking about it and John was on this morning's Today programme. There is also this preview in the Daily Mail. We will be publishing its fifteen component bills, one-at-a-time, on our Comment pages today and tomorrow. You can read them via this link.