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Monday, 25 June, 2001, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Queen's Speech: Do you think Labour will deliver?

Labour has set out how it plans to deliver its key election pledge of far-reaching changes to public services.

The Queen's Speech featured plans for greater private sector involvement in hospitals and schools, a move opposed by public sector trade unions and various Labour MPs.

The 20 bills the government hopes to enact over the next 18 months, also include controversial proposals on criminal justice and welfare

The most likely to spark rebellion among Labour ranks are moves to abolish the "double jeopardy" rule in murder cases, and a bill which would force the partners of jobless people to attend "work-focused" interviews as a condition of benefit payment.

Are these the reforms the UK needs? Do you think Labour will deliver on its programme?

This Talking Point debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

I can't remember the details of any legislation passed in the last parliament, so large was the impact on my life. Why would this year be any different?
Simon, England

The Labour victory has been made easy by the lack of potent opposition

Frank, UK
The Labour victory has been made easy by the lack of potent opposition. In their first term of office, Labour got away with the claim that 'improvements will take time', and I would agree. However, now they've secured a second term, they will have to back up their claims with results. They will find themselves under unprecedented scrutiny from the electorate, and if they fail to deliver, I don't believe they will be asked to lead us again.
Frank, UK

Things are no doubt done by stealth. Having voted for Labour (only to get rid of the Conservatives) last time, I find them to have been a great disappointment. My expectations for the next term: more of the same. If I really thought people could actually make a difference to any of things that really matter, then I'd vote. Voting these days has become only necessary to boot out a government that you're sick of! Judging by the low turnout, many thought the same. Personally, I tire of poor public services and being exploited, and long for a government that will achieve the right balance between business's desire for globalisation and the obligation they have to their people to safeguard their welfare.
Ni Eve, England

I think the point is they believe they can deliver and there is a will to do so. We should all get behind that. I hear too many self-centred people going on about increased taxes, but the fact remains we want better schools, hospitals and public services and the money has to come from somewhere. If it turns out to be all "spin" and no delivery, then a third term will not be on the cards. Let's believe in the approach because it will benefit the majority of us in the end.
Keith Moffitt, Switzerland

Blair obviously seems to be able to sort some things out!

Steve, France
Has Britain really become so bad in the 2 years I have been away, if I am to understand people's comments here? I know that things like the education system, the police force and the hospitals were suffering before Labour came to power. I remember them saying that it would take time but they would get there. At the time I also know that the economy was not very good. We were between 5th and 6th position in terms of GNP. Today I read in a French paper that Britain is actually ahead of them, being 4th. Blair obviously seems to be able to sort some things out!
Steve, France

Never, because the Labour Party leadership's main concern is to integrate Britain fully into an eventual European super state. The majority of business leaders say that joining a Federal Europe and the inevitable joint taxation policies and interest rates will be a bad thing for British business. But the Government, stacked with lawyers of all people, most of whom wouldn't have a clue about running a company and making a profit, know better! Really?

When will the British realise that they are seeing their country being cynically dismantled and given away right before their eyes? I have no idea why, but it's happening. It's been small steps, and at each step they say that's it, but there is always another step. If you don't realise this soon it will be too late. In Australia you don't have to look very far to see an Australian flag flying. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a Union Jack flying apart from on top of a Royal building for the tourists to ogle at? Enough said.
Clive, Australia (ex UK)

It translates into more taxes

Steve Marcellis, US
When I found out how much of a tax burden the good citizens of the United Kingdom are carrying, I said I would never complain about our system. I see that Labour wants changes and improvements in public services, why not be truthful - it translates into more taxes. Why not privatise services and stay out of people's wallets!
Steve Marcellis, US

The Government has not got everything right or done things as quickly as some would have liked, but it has made a decent start. It has presided over sound public finances, low interest rates and low inflation. Most importantly, unemployment has been significantly reduced. That may not seem like a great deal to my fellow correspondents but then, a large portion of them don't live here. Funny that.
Nick, England

Of the 21 people to comment here statistically over 8 of them did not even vote. If you want to moan about your government do it at the ballot box. If you did not vote then keep quiet. I wonder which politician will be brave enough to make not voting a criminal offence?
Alan, UK

It seems from some of the comments here that anybody who is a Tory is dead scared Labour will deliver and the Labour supporters are worried they won't! Labour may not have delivered all that was promised in 1997, but to pretend they've made no difference and won't be able to deliver much more over the next 4 or 5 years is just sour grapes. And anybody who thinks these are "Tory" policies should reflect on the fact that so called "socialist" policies are not defined by what processes and organisational structures are put in place but by what they actually achieve in terms of universal access to decent housing, education and health care and the rest. Too much ideology just gets in the way.
Steve, UK

I think Labour will really struggle to deliver any improvements in the public services. The unions were very quiet over the course of Labour's first term but now they will start to make trouble for the government. Many unions will resist all changes that involve use of the Private Sector just on principle, and the government is set to have a very rough ride indeed. Plus world-class public services by the next election - that's a laugh! In four years' time, when they call the next election, Blair will be asking for a third chance to deliver!
Phillip Porteous, Cumbria

What's of interest to me is what New Labour has left out

Colin, Netherlands
The talk of politicians and the media is of what's in the Queen's speech. What's of interest to me is what New Labour has left out. So, the licensing laws are binned, drugs tsar binned, House of Lords reform shelved and proportional representation binned. The only consolation to this is that New Labour do recycle their waste and perhaps these issues will pop-up in time for the next election!
Colin, Netherlands

I personally was very pleased to find that the Government had left the licensing laws out of the Queen's speech. It is exactly this kind of legislation that is destroying the moral fibre of this country.
Rev. Paul Mason, England

They've had our money, now let's see the product we requested. They have four years to deliver, and I hope there is soon a credible opposition building up, and lurking in the background as a viable future government - to keep them on their toes.
Phil W, UK

Blair should form a coalition government

John Atkins, England
Not a hope! This government is driven not by a desire to help the country, but by self-aggrandisement. Blair should recognise that he does not represent the majority of the people, and form a coalition government that at least represents more than 50% of those who voted.
John Atkins, England

It's two strikes and you're out, Tony....

Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric! Didn't we hear most of these promises being made four years ago - by a group of people who had been "waiting" for power for 18 years? You would have thought that enough time to be ready to fly out of the blocks when the time came. But it just didn't happen! Are any of the parliamentarians talking to the people they are supposed to represent to find out what they want? Or are they simply pandering to the corporate world who pull most of the strings in today's "modern" world anyway? Look at the lack of commitment on the evils (and costs to society) of tobacco! Come back, Guy Fawkes - all is forgiven!
Michael Grice, Singapore

Since 1997 the government has failed to deliver improvements in public services

Nick, UK
Even before the Queen's speech the government had gone back on one of their manifesto pledges - the increased opening times for pubs and clubs. In the scheme of things this has very little impact, but it is hugely symbolic. Since 1997 the government has failed to deliver improvements in public services. The advent of public-private partnerships is not going to improve public services as suggested, as there are major clashes in culture between the private and public sectors and above all a suspicion of private organisations by public sector employees. There are many cases of industrial unrest where private organisations have been brought into public services. This is not a solution to the government's failure to improve public services. The government's programme for the next session of parliament is a showcase for its failures over the last four years.
Nick, UK

I am sure Labour will deliver. As in the last four years, they will deliver a lot of empty promises, fine sounding rhetoric and grand ideas. I doubt they will have time to actually change anything, apart from the number of speed cameras and the level of taxes.
Dave Tankard, UK

If New Labour keep this up the State will be able to prosecute you for anything and everything

A. Vickers, England
I would hardly consider myself a libertarian, but the removal of "double jeopardy" strikes fear into my heart - especially when it's taken into context with the RIP bill, the removal of the option of trial by jury, and the ever-increasing amount of "guilty until proven innocent" legislation. If New Labour keep this up the State will be able to prosecute you for anything and everything, and you'll have no defence against it.
A. Vickers, England

It's not a question of Blair delivering; it's a question of voters coming to terms with what it is they want. Either lower taxes and lower public spending, or higher taxes and higher public spending. The main electoral difficulty faced by Hague and Blair was guessing what the public really wanted, because the message was so mixed. Perhaps most of the public really does not know what it wants when it comes to the crunch. A national debate on funding public services was never so sorely needed, but politicians probably aren't the ones to lead it if they continue to just say whatever we want to hear.
Patrick B, UK

If they DO deliver, does it mean that a hospital can be sponsored by a tobacco company as they have decided not to ban advertising of the product and want private money to be used for public services?
Mike Cooke, UK

76% of the population did not vote for this Government and have already blithely reneged on two major pledges in their election campaign. What else are they going to renege on? There is only one recourse for frustrated people to express frustration and resentment to a dictatorial government - violence. If Labour do not deliver, people will be on the streets....
Charles Simon, England

Since May 1997 New Labour has delivered increased taxes and precious little else. They seem to have some ideas which are broadly speaking good ones, the problem is they don't have the first idea how to make them work in the real world.
John B, UK

How dare politicians have the temerity to suggest we should all be in bed by half eleven

Matthew Argent, UK
What happened to the proposed reform of drinking laws? How dare politicians have the temerity to suggest we should all be in bed by half eleven.
Matthew Argent, UK

I think that the Labour government needs to show itself as "doers" rather than "talkers". Legislation can be passed but unless there are the resources there to uphold it then its effect is reduced. Little has been said about assisting industry to further stop manufacturing job losses and to ensure a favourable balance of payments necessary for the economic health of the country. Based on the last parliament I would predict that little will actually be achieved, but there will be plenty of "spin" to try to make people feel good about it.
Gavin Pearson, Detroit, MI, USA

So, we are following the American route "beyond the constraints of Thatcherism" and forwards to a complete mortgaging of our public services. I thought Victorian values went out 100 years ago. Let us embrace this Americanised privatisation of our social treasures, politically and financially run-down by 22 years of Thatcherite economics. Sell the BBC to Murdoch and give us the freedom to choose. The police and armed services would deliver better value for money if sold to a cabal of corporate investors as well. I wonder if any companies plan to buy up a privatised House of Commons even if it is "bog standard".
Dafydd, UK

I have recently been accused of having "blind faith" in the New Labour Government for stating that yes I most emphatically do think they will deliver on the NHS and in education. I am not a naive person and I fully realise that it is going to be tough and that reform is going to be radical and is needed urgently to restore our key services. I am a public sector worker and I will do everything within my power to ensure that our people have good services, I for one will never obstruct a government (any government) whom I think is busting a gut trying to improve things. If we want to keep our key services now is the time for us all to work together, shoulder to shoulder across party politics, our NHS and education services are far too important to us to keep bickering about.
Rosie, UK

Blair will not deliver what the country wants and needs. Public services are going to be partially privatised; public servants will again be squeezed exactly like the Tories squeezed them. It will become increasingly difficult to recruit first class doctors, teachers etc. and we shall be trawling the world for other nation's casts-offs. Politicians forget that public servants are not stones to be sucked dry of blood until they crack, but they are also voters. The other thing politicians forget is that they too are public servants. We need to show that we value both the service and the servants.
Susan Dintinger, England

On the whole, a good set of policies - if they all come about - particularly the greater freedom for schools and governors. Will they deliver? Given a continuing healthy economy, I think Labour are more likely to deliver than the Tories. I feel more secure in the knowledge that at least Labour have the basis of a sound economy to enable them to achieve their manifesto promises.
Graham Follett, UK

While such reforms are welcomed, as change is nearly always a good thing, I am disappointed at the lack of other pre-election pledges. What happened for example to the improvement in drinking laws. A key issue amongst the younger generation?
John Stewart, UK

Something that scares me about the abolition of the "double jeopardy" rule is that it is justified by the claim that "victims of crime should be put first". Nobody asserts that we should ignore crime, but surely innocent bystanders should have their rights rigorously defended - and this can mean ensuring they are not harassed, even by the police. Of course if someone murders someone we don't want a failed trial to prevent them being convicted eventually - nobody would dispute that - but the reason we have such rules is to protect other people, and to ensure that you don't have to forever be proving your innocence - instead once it's been proved that can't be revoked.
Ben Ross, UK

Deliver? Why should they? They delivered nothing last time around and still got re-elected!
Mr T, UK

I don't see any mention of electoral reform in this list. Remember all the talk of electoral reform early on when "Labour" returned to power? Why, there was even a committee set up which made a number of recommendations. How many have been implemented? Precisely none. You would think after the dismal turn-out at the general election, that a rethink would be high on the agenda but apparently not. How small does the turn-out have to be before these people realise that they are supported by a diminishing minority or perhaps they just don't care! Well, a sizable majority of us out here don't care for this government or its irrelevant policies.
Tony Hague, England

The Labour Government WILL deliver

Mark, UK
With a very busy legislative schedule ahead, a landslide behind them and voter impatience all around, the Labour Government WILL deliver. This is for two reasons. First, they desperately want to make the UK into a modern and just society. And secondly, because if they don't the electorate will probably crush them at the next election.
Mark, UK

No, they still haven't really delivered since 97. The only reason they are back is because there is no decent alternative.
Fraser, Essex, England

The last thing we need is a further invasion of public space by private corporations, least of all in education. I voted Labour but I didn't vote for "Coca Cola Comprehensives"...
Rich, UK

We are in for more of the same

Paul, England
Labour have two choices - they can either deliver on their spending commitments or they can deliver on their tax promises. They can't do both because their sums don't add up. My view is that we are in for more of the same - all talk, triple counting and a failure to deliver on promises. The electorate gave them a second chance. They won't get a third.
Paul, England

Partners of the jobless attending benefit interviews? Private funding of essential public services? Defendants being tried for the same crime twice? And there was me thinking the Tories lost the election!
Mark B, UK

This was a Queen's Speech as full of weasel words and blurb, and as devoid of detail and content as any I've ever seen. It's as if the Government doesn't want to say anything to which it can be held to account. I have a gloomy view of the next 4 or 5 years if this Queen's Speech sets the mould, and I feel a little sorry for the Queen being asked to deliver it.
Andi Tsuyoshi Williams, Japan

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See also:

20 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair targets public services
19 Jun 01 | Business
Byers heckled at union conference
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