Its time to prove your tough talk on knife crime and immigration isnt just fantasy politics and propaganda, Boris


If only our politicians could take a leaf out of Nike’s book and ‘Just Do It’, our country might be better governed.

But instead of acting decisively and urgently, our rulers love to fill Westminster with hot air about their future plans and promises.

The Queen at the state opening parliament today

Brexit is a classic example of this failing. Instead of getting on with the job of delivering the 2016 referendum result, MPs have dithered and delayed for more than three years.

Their self-indulgent orgy of obstruction has made a farce of democracy, shattered public faith in the political system, and undermined the chances of real independence for Britain.

It is a similar story with the Queens Speech today at the opening of the new Parliament. Amid all the pomp and ceremony, what was really on display was a theatrical charade.

The Tory Government went through the motions of setting out a grand vision for the improving the nation, and very impressive it was too.

Fantasy politics and zombie Parliament

In this exciting new Britain, criminals will tremble with fear, trains will run on time and patients will all receive first-class care from the NHS.

But for all the fine ambition, much of the Speech was empty, designed purely to give the illusion of action.

For a start, this was an exercise in fantasy politics.

Sadly the Conservatives are over a barrel. The 26 bills read by Her Majesty cannot be enacted because the government have no majority in the Commons, thanks to their botched 2017 General Election and their expulsion of more than a score of rebels.

In legislative terms, Boris Johnson and his Cabinet are effectively paralysed by the current Zombie Parliament.

Ministers can do nothing until a further General Election is held, but there is no sign of the cynical opposition agreeing to one soon. So the Queens Speech amounted to little more than a Tory wish list.

Just as importantly, like most election manifestos, the proposed plan was long on rhetoric but short on practical effectiveness.

Big on ideas, vague on details

The Conservatives prove once more they are the party for women with the groundbreaking Domestic Abuse Bill.

They want not only a wider definition of this terrible crime, but also the creation of a Domestic Abuse Commissioner and new rules to stop abuse victims facing their attackers in court.

Other welcome steps are the promise to raise the Living Wage to 10.50 an hour, a more realistic law on divorce, the use of voter identification in elections to prevent fraud, and legislation to ensure that management giving hospitality staff all the tips that are due to them.

Those are practical measures but too often, in other parts of the Queens Speech, there was an air of vagueness, as in promises to improve mental health, adult social care or the rail franchising system.

Rather than seeing the law as an instrument to achieve real change, the Government wants to use it to send out a political message, as though it were a tool of propaganda.

Boris walks through the central lobby to the Lords with Jeremy Corbyn
Boris needs to stop talking and get on with doing

Feeble courts ignore tough sentences

At the heart of the speech was a pledge to get much tougher on law and order.

So serious violent and sex offenders will have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentences instead of being entitled to automatic release halfway through their terms.

Foreign criminals who breach their deportation orders will also face much longer sentences, up from weeks to years, while murderers who refuse to reveal where their victims are buried will also be kept behind bars for longer.

This should all be welcomed. As the robust new Home Secretary Priti Patel put it yesterday, We have been a soft touch for too long.

Shes right, but the problem is not the lack of legislation, but the reluctance of the criminal justice system to enforce the current laws, combined with poor management by the Home Office and cuts in police numbers.

We already have statutory tough sentences but too often they are ignored by the enfeebled courts. Around 40 per cent of criminals caught more than once in possession of a knife are spared jail, making a mockery of the two strikes and youre out law passed in 2015.

The Tories resolute language on crime would be more convincing if they had not presided over a knife crime epidemic which has seen over 100 people killed this year in London alone.

Priti Patel says Britain has been a soft touch

Crackdown on immigrants who don’t work

As for the points-based system for immigrants that was announced today, it’s about time too. For too long, governments have failed to get a handle on immigration.

The annual influx is now over 600,000 new arrivals, the majority of them from outside the EU. And contrary to fashionable myth-making, most of these migrants do not come here to work.

According to the latest official figures, just 35 per cent of the 612,000 new migrants who came here in the last 12 months arrived with the intention of working.

I for one hope that the Tories are serious about tackling this free-for-all.

The House of Lords during the Queen’s Speech today

Jeremy Corbyn attends the Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech today

Black Rod adds to the pomp and circumstance of the occasion

Only Brexit will prove the political will

Unable to find practical solutions to certain problems, Ministers have just resorted to the creation of expensive new public bodies as a substitute.

The Tories once boasted of a bonfire of the quangos.Now they are creating more of them.

Among the new outposts of officialdom are: an independent body for international trade, an NHS Safety Investigations Body, a Building Safety regulator, an Office for Environmental Protection to scrutinise environmental policy and a Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland.

Under the Police Protections Bill, there will also be a Covenant for the Police similar to the Military Covenant for the Armed Forces to protect officers in the course of their duties.

But the Military Covenant has not stopped veterans of the Northern Irish, Iraqi and Afghan conflicts from being hounded by cynical, money-grabbing lawyers and an appeasing state.

So bureaucracy is not always the answer, nor is legislation.

It is political will that really counts. Boris’ boldness in negotiating with the EU and his recalcitrant colleagues proves he’s not lacking in that department. We can only hope that once Brexit is finally resolved he’ll turn this passion back to the business of governing Britain.