The ‘Driverless car’ jibe of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in response to government proposals detailed in the Queen’s speech, is probably not that far off the mark. One thing is for certain, it is a driverless car that has followed a route avoiding the long established, traditional regions of England and any consideration of listening to the case for devolution to these regions.
The route of the Tories driverless car clearly follows one of austerity and increased privatisation of public services. In education, as well as plans to force more schools to become academies (despite recently backtracking on this socially divisive policy), there is also the possibility of uncapping university tuition fees. We may also see the scrapping of the Human Rights Act which will have a detrimental effect on our civil liberties, whilst prisons will continue to remain overcrowded and in many circumstances ineffective as a result of failing to address the long term causes of crime in the community. By and large if this speech was a driverless car it is one that has failed its MOT owned by a government that is taking the country to the breakers yard.
There was some bright light. Our Portsmouth & co-organiser for Hampshire, Cliff Jones, uncovered amongst the austerity wrapped speech the ‘Bus Services Bill’. Cliff said, ‘The Bus Services Bill promises to give councils new powers to better plan and manage bus services. We'll be campaigning to make sure that it delivers better buses for all of us – and that funding cuts don't leave passengers stranded before the Bill has a chance to take effect’.
Being a party for the community, the Wessex Regionalists, recognise public transport is very important in building thriving local communities. But what the Tories give with one hand (the Bus Services Bill) they take away with the other, in the form of funding. How many local bus services has Wessex lost – and how many are in the pipeline to be axed. As Cliff pointed out, the Wessex Regionalists will fight for funding as well as preserving and even increasing bus routes.
Our vision is clearly different from the austerity driven, ‘Big is Wonderful’, centralised diktat of David Cameron and others in the Westminster village. What is spouted from the mouths of those sat on the green benches is not always policies of a driverless car, but hot air which could fill a thousand balloons. The Queen’s Speech, as always was a one size fits all approach to government. We believe this is an upside down approach, and what is required is grassroots democracy, listening to communities, ensuring adequate public services for those communities and a future for all in those communities.
Pictured left the Portsmouth & Hampshire co-organiser of the Wessex Regionalists, Cliff Jones, has stressed the party will be active in campaigning for better public transport in the light of the Bus Services Bill being introduced in the Queen's speech.
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