Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths issued the following statement today in response to the Tory government’s Queen’s Speech:
‘When a Boris Johnson government talks about renewing and strengthening democracy, it’s time to count the spoons.
‘The legislative programme outlined in the Queen’s Speech is a minefield for democratic liberties with plenty of traps for the leadership of the Labour Party. Even more significantly, it refuses to address Britain’s rising levels of family poverty and the failure to prepare for and respond to Covid and similar deadly epidemics.
‘Instead, the Tory government’s priorities are to boost military spending, including on nuclear weapons of mass murder, and to continue the erosion of democratic freedoms including our rights of assembly and protest.
‘Proposals to strengthen trade ties in the Gulf, Africa and the Indo-Pacific will mean stronger links with reactionary regimes as part of the new Cold War drive against China’s economic and political influence in developing countries.
‘Labour will be also be challenged to oppose what Prime Minister Johnson hopes will be popular policies to strengthen the police, courts and intelligence services and to limit immigration except for the rich and for skilled or super-exploited migrant labour.
‘Abolition of the fixed-term parliament law will enable the Tories to call a General Election before slashing public services and serving the electorate with a massive bill for subsidising big business through the Covid crisis.
‘Other Tory plans have been lifted from Labour’s previous election manifestos, notably investment in Green jobs and a more comprehensive roll-out of 5G broadband.
‘Supporters of devolution and federalism should beware the reference in the Queen’s Speech to “promote the integrity and strength of the union”.
‘We should not expect fresh powers and resources for Scotland, Wales and the English regions or a new, durable settlement based on mutual respect, cooperation and a redistribution of wealth from the super-rich to the rest.
‘Rather, the Tory government will intensify its efforts to divert to Westminster and Whitehall the powers due to be transferred from the EU to Edinburgh and Cardiff, perhaps even those over public procurement contracts. Any attempt to outlaw the right of the Scottish Parliament to organise a second independence referendum will be anti-democratic and ultimately self-defeating.
‘This Queen’s Speech underlines the urgent need for the labour movement to demand an end to Keir Starmer’s anti-left offensive in the Labour Party, and to inspire and mobilise workers and their families for a bold, alternative programme’.