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Occupy Westminster In Reverse?
June 21, 2013 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies - "The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year. All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights."

The 40 articles listed on The Staggers.
posted by marienbad (63 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Without being all LOL Conservatives, my favourite one of these is the amendment to effectively ban sexual harassment in the workplace unless a criminal offence has been committed. I had genuinely no idea that the right to lear was even on anybody's radar.

Oh, and Margaret Thatcher Day is a genius idea. I'd love to be in Glasgow when they're celebrating that.

In fact, this entire thing sounds like a plot to ensure a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum.
posted by Hartster at 2:38 PM on June 21, 2013 [22 favorites]


41. Invest in some sort of Superman-inspired machine that will reverse the Earth's rotation and turn time back to 1830.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the UK now has its own Contract with America('s worst impulses)

Seriously, though, I'm probably just an ignorant American, but this almost reads like a 'you think we're bad now' dare.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher Day
I see no flaw with this idea. After all, we have a holiday for Guy Fawkes.
posted by Jehan at 2:39 PM on June 21, 2013 [26 favorites]


Yeah, but his plot to ruin the country didn't go off.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2013 [52 favorites]


Yeah, but his plot to ruin the country didn't go off.

And now I'm envisioning kids in 2413 protesting the latest draconian pirate cyborg DNA copyright laws whilst wearing leering Margaret Thatcher masks.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2013 [15 favorites]


I've tweeted my MP to ask if he backs this alternative queen's speech. I should get lots of copy from it should he be stupid enough to say yes.
posted by Jehan at 2:52 PM on June 21, 2013


I picture Margaret Thatcher day being a holiday where bankers get a free day off, civil-service employees get sent home with no pay, and everybody else goes to work.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:55 PM on June 21, 2013 [31 favorites]


Nothing here that veers too radically from their actual shitty policies. Are we supposed to pretend the LibDems are holding them back or something?
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on June 21, 2013


And now I'm envisioning kids in 2413 protesting the latest draconian pirate cyborg DNA copyright laws whilst wearing leering Margaret Thatcher masks.

Dear mask-makers of the future, you could start with this image, which according to this page, is a portrait circa 1990.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:57 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


and everybody else goes to work.

You forgot the last "with no pay".
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:57 PM on June 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe they could find some miners to beat up.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Elsewhere in the Telegraph:
Another MP, Peter Bone, was quoted as saying: “This is a serious attempt to deliver policies that the British public really want”. Which makes you wonder what a crazed attempt would look like.

Elements of the parliamentary Conservative Party have gone stark staring mad. Lids have finally flipped. Plots have been lost. Non-refundable single tickets have been purchased for the funny farm.
posted by grouse at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


I thought about adding "at 75% of their normal salary," but lately that seems redundant after "go to work."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:58 PM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is kinda lovely. It's as if they'd taken out full page ads in every newspaper in the country declaring "We're Really Are Just as Bad as You Always Thought!"
posted by yoink at 3:02 PM on June 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe they could find some miners to beat up.

Not in Britain!
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:04 PM on June 21, 2013 [9 favorites]


Dear mask-makers of the future, you could start with this image, which according to this page, is a portrait circa 1990.

I thought that was going to link to a Spitting Image puppet. :D
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:05 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bone and Hollobone are two of a small group of Tory backbenchers (see also Philip Davies, Priti Patel, etc) who are the equivalent of the kids who sit at the back of the school bus and make sarcastic comments, safe in the knowledge that they will never actually be Ministers or have responsibility for implementing these policies. In addition to being mad, most of these are either completely unworkable, completely unaffordable, or both. But you do have to give them credit for this:

29) Prime Minister (Replacement) Bill

Actually a constitutional reform to allow for circumstances where the PM is incapacitated, but a not so subtle dig at the current incumbent too...
posted by greycap at 3:10 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "and everybody else goes to work."

Unless you're from the North.
posted by schmod at 3:21 PM on June 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Conservative Party has never ever been realistically squeezed from its right before. The emergence of UKIP, however laughable to both mainstream politicians and broad swathes of the UK's general population, is doing precisely that at the moment. If UKIP sustains its current charge into the run-up to the general election (and that's a big 'if'), documents like this piece of babbling nonsense will be touted around by sections of the Conservative right in the hope that some of the policies will make it into the mainstream and even feature in the manifesto. What's incredible is that Bone and his pals genuinely believe that there is a strong undercurrent of public sentiment that would support these measures. Let's just think about that for a moment and roll it around in our heads. There are professional politicians, people who live and eat and breathe politics in Britain, who genuinely believe that they way to win an overall majority in the next election is to pitch their Party's tent even further to the Right than it currently is. That everything going wrong in the country, economically and socially, has been caused thus far by not being sufficiently right wing in policy execution. That a harder and harsher version of neoliberal capitalism is what people in the UK both really need and truly desire. Just let that sink in.
posted by hydatius at 3:42 PM on June 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Hydatius, we're seeing the same illogical behavior on the right in the US. Rather than rethinking their message as unpalatable to the majority of Americans, the far right are doubling down on the stupid.
posted by Ber at 4:02 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone care to explain what unique combination of far-right philosophy and local constituency issue has led to:

"12) Residential Roads (Adoption by Local Highways Authority) – Bill to require the handover of residential roads built by developers to local highways authorities within certain time periods; and for connected purposes."

?
posted by cromagnon at 4:05 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. ...

'The Maggie Carcass'
posted by jamjam at 4:15 PM on June 21, 2013


Without being all LOL Conservatives

Fine, I'll do it. This is inane and insane, and would not have come out of any other group but the more swivel-eyed loons in the Tories and UKIP.

There's at least some things to be said for more centre ground Tories with Oxbridge PPE and the Bar as a background, and I suspect I share their dismay. I might disagree with them, but can respect a well formed intellectual argument. This document is utterly laughable intellectual pablum.

My sympathies to those who share a whip with the authors.
posted by jaduncan at 4:22 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not really very neoliberal though. Only three bills about reducing workers rights or removing regulations, plus the EU ones. 17 of the 40 are about removing rights or provisions for people who aren't non-Muslim British. It's an exercise in blaming the foreigner for British failure, and whether the authors know it or not, it's not Friedman that's the inspiration here, but Göring.
posted by cromagnon at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


no laws proposed in regard to the banking sector i see.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:58 PM on June 21, 2013


In fact, this entire thing sounds like a plot to ensure a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum.

If there's a better explanation of Tory policies these days, I've yet to hear it.
posted by Zonker at 5:06 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


not Friedman that's the inspiration here, but Göring.

Actually, I thought it was a little more redolent of Nick Griffin.
posted by jaduncan at 5:08 PM on June 21, 2013


9) School Governing Bodies (Adverse Weather Conditions) – Bill to require school governing bodies and headteachers to make provision to keep schools open in adverse weather conditions.

10) Capital Punishment – Bill to allow for capital punishment for certain offences.


I'm not sure which is the more evil.
posted by billiebee at 5:14 PM on June 21, 2013


Its hardly neoliberal, it is more a strange assortment. Bringing back smoking in private members clubs? ok, cool if you are rich but it sucks otherwise, and then, suddenly:

22) Charitable Status for Religious Institutions – Bill to make provision for a presumption that religious institutions meet the public benefit test for charitable status.

Wow. So down with that idea. But then they say:

25) Withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights

and

9) School Governing Bodies (Adverse Weather Conditions) – Bill to require school governing bodies and headteachers to make provision to keep schools open in adverse weather conditions.

Hmm, let me think about that for about half a nanosecond.
posted by marienbad at 5:14 PM on June 21, 2013


more a strange assortment.

"Yes, something should be done about that too, put that in! Where's my gin and tonic?"
posted by jaduncan at 5:18 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


>22) Charitable Status for Religious Institutions – Bill to make provision for a presumption that religious institutions meet the public benefit test for charitable status.

Wow. So down with that idea.


I'd imagine this is to ensure that those nasty (read non-Christian) religious institutions have a hard time getting charitable status.
posted by billiebee at 5:19 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


10) may be a way to get Britain expelled from the EU without negotiating an exit, as the EU has an unconditional blanket ban on capital punishment in peacetime.

Of course, being kicked out of the EU for stringing up some paedophiles on the new Sky Executions pay-per-view channel, sticking two fingers up in the direction of Brussels and saying “yeah, Jacques, come stop us!” could have more adverse consequences than carefully negotiating an exit might have, but I suspect that the authors of such a plan are at a place beyond the mere consideration of mundane consequences.
posted by acb at 5:24 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


39) Employment Opportunities – Bill to introduce more freedom, flexibility and opportunity for those seeking employment in the public and private sectors; and for connected purposes.


For some reason I trust this one the least. What do they mean? How will they ensure this? It's so vague and benign sounding. It can only have some truly Tory-benefitting nefariousness at its core.
posted by billiebee at 5:24 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flexibility will mean making it easier to sack people, I would imagine. Oh, and freedom might well be freedom of contract, ie. no minimum wage or EU Working Time Directive.

Sorry to harsh the buzz.
posted by jaduncan at 5:29 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flexibility will mean making it easier to sack people, I would imagine.

Yeah, and anti-union stuff. It'll be the equivalent of "right to work" in the US.
posted by yoink at 5:30 PM on June 21, 2013


Flexibility = the abolition of the artificial supports that create the middle class, and the freedom of the bulk of it to sink to its natural level in the great pyramid of society, i.e., serfdom.
posted by acb at 5:31 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looking at this thread, I must admit that I could not honestly call the blue a hotbed of Tory support.
posted by jaduncan at 5:34 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Clearly these people completed their second drink.
posted by winna at 5:37 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had imagined that at best they meant MPs could lobby, consult for and generally be in the pay of any corporation they wanted, without having to worry about silly nonsense like conflicts of interest.
posted by billiebee at 5:39 PM on June 21, 2013


Clearly these people completed their second drink.

While smoking in their private members club, sexually harassing their female employees (fine as long as you stay the right side of the law, chaps!) and shedding a tear for Maggie.
posted by billiebee at 5:43 PM on June 21, 2013


> genuinely believe […] that a harder and harsher version of neoliberal capitalism is what people in the UK both really need and truly desire.

I don't doubt that a lot of them are just mad and old lawn guarders, but I suspect they wouldn't be wrong that many of the rich and powerful actually important people in the UK desire this sort of insidious, bloodletting nose mutilation.
posted by lucidium at 5:46 PM on June 21, 2013


Flexibility will mean making it easier to sack people, I would imagine. Oh, and freedom might well be freedom of contract, ie. no minimum wage or EU Working Time Directive.
No, not at all. It means literally what it says. Workers have to be very flexible to clean under spinning machines and up chimneys. It will create untold opportunities for NEETs. Indeed, my nephew's nursery has already taught him how to sing "Wind The Bobbin Up", such is the new emphasis on vocational training.
posted by Jehan at 6:00 PM on June 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Any urchins yet?
posted by telstar at 6:21 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The streets already are full of ragamuffins.
posted by yoHighness at 7:13 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are there no workhouses?
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on June 21, 2013


New plan: we can't mine coal anymore, but we'll still send people underground for 10 hours a day in order to receive their benefit.

Also, these mills need to be way more dark, satanic.


ctrl+F "swivel-eyed loons". Yes, everything seems to be in order here.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:43 PM on June 21, 2013


In fact, this entire thing sounds like a plot to ensure a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum.

Or possibly they were bribed by the News Quiz production staff to provide fodder for the start of the new series on Friday...
posted by titus-g at 8:57 PM on June 21, 2013


22) Charitable Status for Religious Institutions – Bill to make provision for a presumption that religious institutions meet the public benefit test for charitable status.

>I'd imagine this is to ensure that those nasty (read non-Christian) religious institutions have a hard time getting charitable status.

No, this is to do with the Exclusive Brethren, who were refused charitable status on the grounds that they operated a policy of strict separation from the outside world and therefore failed the public benefit test. They also faced allegations that their disciplinary structure involved bullying and child abuse, separated families, was intolerant of gay rights and oppressed women. The Brethren claim they are the victims of 'politically correct bias'.
posted by verstegan at 11:58 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think this is a great idea. Just what they need to win another huge parliamentary majority.
posted by rhymer at 12:18 AM on June 22, 2013


In fact, this entire thing sounds like a plot to ensure a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum.
I think they believe Scottish independence followed swiftly (please god) by Wales means an English Tory majority for over 999 years.

The abolish Clegg thing was funny though.
posted by fullerine at 1:57 AM on June 22, 2013


Instead of Margaret Thatcher Day, the Tories should call it Harold Wilson/James Callaghan Day and turn off all of the power generating plants for 12 hours to remind people of what it was like BEFORE Margaret Thatcher.

In fact, this entire thing sounds like a plot to ensure a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum.

And why not? Is it only legitimate when Scots want to leave? Isn't it equally valid for the English and Welsh to wish them good riddance?
posted by three blind mice at 3:35 AM on June 22, 2013


hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights

Does anyone have more detail on this parliamentary procedure they used? I can't find it in the article, or after a cursory Google. But I may just be being dim.
posted by ElliotH at 5:23 AM on June 22, 2013


From what little the article says, it appears that they just camped out in front of the building all weekend so that they'd be first in line to put new bills in the queue the second Parliament opened for business. Presumably the majority party normally gets first access.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:20 AM on June 22, 2013


And why not? Is it only legitimate when Scots want to leave? Isn't it equally valid for the English and Welsh to wish them good riddance?

Kind of contrary to the whole "United Kingdom" concept though. Which is, you know, a fundamental Tory principle.
posted by billiebee at 7:05 AM on June 22, 2013


Instead of Margaret Thatcher Day, the Tories should call it Harold Wilson/James Callaghan Day and turn off all of the power generating plants for 12 hours to remind people of what it was like BEFORE Margaret Thatcher.
She also cured the lepers and banished the snakes.
posted by Jehan at 8:52 AM on June 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Does anyone have more detail on this parliamentary procedure they used? I can't find it in the article, or after a cursory Google. But I may just be being dim.

The procedure is known as Private Members' Bills. They are chances for backbenchers to put legislation through Parliament, rather than the Government. Mostly they get a first reading and are never heard of again - and are done, as with these, to make a political point - but sometimes the Government backs them and they become law. The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 was a private members' bill (in part because starting it as a Government bill would have been difficult given that voting was made a free vote due to it being a matter of conscience).

There are two ways you secure a Private Members' Bill as an MP. There is a ballot at the start of each parliamentary session (once a year now). But there are also set days when selected bills get given a first reading. Whoever puts their name in the queue first gets first slot. It's fairly common to camp out in the relevant parliamentary office to secure a slot. Ben Gummer, a Tory MP in the 2010 intake, talks about it here.
posted by greycap at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2013


I think they believe Scottish independence followed swiftly (please god) by Wales means an English Tory majority for over 999 years.

I think you may be right. I think they also fail to recognise the absolute crisis that directly pitting the city against the countryside would induce. Scotland and Wales leaving the Union, and the prospect of a perpetual Tory government with its power-base in the shires would, I rather suspect, trigger sustained urban discontent to make the 2011 riots look like a tea-party. Cue constitutional crisis and God knows what. Horrible, but I have a feeling it's going to be the only way forward.
posted by howfar at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except that it'd be a tripartite conflict of interests: the shires, the cities and the City (of London). The City is a feudal institution whose legislators are elected by corporations with headquarters in London, with votes in proportion to global headcount, and which has control over things like monetary policy and intellectual-property enforcement, and is on its way to becoming a Dubai-style post-democratic corporate state. The Tories would have to balance its interests (less regulation, more caviar and cocaine), with those of the shires (less foreign muck, hang 'em and flog 'em), with cosmopolitan urbanites beneath the rarefied level of the global elites getting third place.
posted by acb at 3:26 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


pitting the city against the countryside

And the City and home counties against the North. Though, personally, if the North wanted to emigrate I'd be quite happy for the Scottish border to be moved just south of Rusholme...
posted by titus-g at 3:07 AM on June 23, 2013


Except that it'd be a tripartite conflict of interests: the shires, the cities and the City (of London).

Indeed, something I'm trying to understand at the moment is what London, considered as a whole, means at this point in British history. The interests of its populace and the interests of its masters seem, at first glance, to be wildly at odds with each other. But I think the interaction is actually more complex than that, with the cosmopolitan nature of London being a vital factor in the growth of the financial services sector. And, given the tax-avoiding nature of much of what goes on, one might argue that the City is much closer to being parasitic on the city than the Tories would like to believe. The danger for any parasite is riding the host too hard. The Tory fantasy, of a self-sustaining, all-encompassing financial services economy, is just as dangerous to the City as it is to the ordinary citizens of London. But I don't think anything is going to convince them of that except the brutal reality of seeing it happen; their dreams are just too fevered.

And the City and home counties against the North.

This is true to a significant degree, but it's worth remembering that the city-country/Labour-Tory divide holds true to some extent in the North as well. I think it is sufficiently significant to cause real difficulties in the event of Scotland seceding. I'd be much more optimistic for a reconceived federal Union (which is my current "wouldn't it be nice if" dream of how we get out of the governmental and constitutional mess we're in) if I could see a simple way of the North breaking away from the South. As things stand, the future seems much dimmer to me, in both applicable senses.
posted by howfar at 8:24 AM on June 23, 2013


Politics on both sides of the Atlantic nowadays increasingly seem to involve a small minority of aggressive right-wing fantasists pulling oddly adolescent stunts and pushing kooky views.

It's like the past few years have broken something in the conservative mind: the smarter rats jumped ship a while ago, recognising that since modern conservatism is as much a circus racket as it is a political movement, they could still have a market as celebrities; others have decided to adopt the essentially magical solution of "we have failed because we haven't be conservative enough, so we have to appease the gods by being even more zealously conservative." This despite the fact that their idea of conservatism tends to be mere gangsterism, i.e. giving the richest and the strongest whatever they want in return for their "protection" from chaos, terrorism or poverty.

To be honest, I had hoped these nutters were only going to show up in America. There is just something very un-English about this kind of enthusiastic, almost feverish fanaticism.
posted by lucien_reeve at 10:41 AM on June 23, 2013


It's like the past few years have broken something in the conservative mind

I think many of them genuinely believe in the end of history, and that belief has, in effect, driven them mad.
posted by howfar at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2013


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