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The Tories want credit for reversing their own cuts – Jason Beattie

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This morning a 93-year-old woman will make a short journey across central London, Extinction Rebellion protests permitting, to announce the Government’s programme for business.

One of the things to admire about Her Majesty is she manages to use the same non-committal tone regardless of  the gibberish she is required to read out.

The Queen’s Speech may be a  piece of pre-election propaganda by the Conservatives  but it will be delivered with all the enthusiasm of a telesales woman required to read the terms and conditions of a life insurance policy for the fiftieth time that day.

Much of the content of the Speech is sheer posturing.

It is a wish list by a Prime Minister who also wishes he had the majority necessary to enact any of this legislation.

The Queen will be required to read out Boris Johnson’s pre-election propaganda

Boris Johnson is also relying on the idea that voters have been struck down by a collective amnesia and will be grateful for the extra investment in public services while conveniently forgetting that the expenditure fails to compensate for the decade of cuts his government has imposed.

The Tory sales pitch appears to be that having taken £500 out of customer’s account he or she can be bought off by an offer to put £300 back in.

This is not to say the policy is not working.

Johnson always portrayed himself as an outsider when in government and therefore can present himself, to an extent, as a fresh face now he’s in government.

Many in Labour are worried about the way the Tories are now blunting their best attack lines by promising an increase in wages and extra money for the police, education and the NHS.

The Queen’s Speech is almost a sideshow in what is shaping up to be a momentous week for Brexit.

Last week’s optimism has been replaced by a sober reality as the EU starts to assess  the nitty-gritty of Johnson’s Brexit plan.

(A plan, incidentally he has yet to share with his Cabinet let alone the general public).

There has been progress on the question of consent – the mechanism of how the customs arrangement would be policed – with a tentative agreement that any deal would have to be endorsed by the majority of parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

But the talks have stalled on the UK’s customs plan . Johnson is thought to be proposing  that Northern Ireland would leave the customs union with the rest of the UK.

Goods entering from Great Britain would then be tracked and tariffs would be applied if they were to enter the Irish Republic.

The deal struck by Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar has run into difficulties

Brussels is not convinced the plan is workable and, even if it were, it could be implemented within the year-long transition problem.

Somehow this has to be resolved by Wednesday evening if a deal is to be struck at the EU summit on Thursday.

The Times is reporting that Brussels may conclude that even if the outline of deal can be reach it will still require an extension in order for it to be ratified by the UK and European Parliaments.

Would this be enough for Boris Johnson to say he has fulfilled his promise to leave on October 31 “do or die”?

It is worth remembering that Johnson’s proposal, if it is accepted, would leave the UK worse off and has no provisions for protecting workers’ rights or ensuring environmental safeguards.

According to the UK in a Changing Europe think tank  the plan would see GDP per capita fall by between 2.3% and 7% in the next ten years.

This compares to May’s deal which would see GDP per capita fall by 1.9% and 5.5%.

Today’s agenda:

11.25am – State opening of Parliament.

11.30am – Dennis Skinner’s heckle.

2.30pm – Speaker opens the Commons debate on the Queen’s speech.

10pm (approx) – Dan Jarvis MP debate on the 75th anniversary of Arnhem.

What I am reading:

Kevin Maguire on why Jeremy Corbyn should back a referendum before an election



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