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Govt unveils new legislation in Queen's Speech

And none of it has anything to do with technology

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After a difficult last term with regard to technology, the Labour government has announced its intention to ignore it and hope it will all go away in the Queen's Speech today.

If you don't know, the Queen's Speech consists of Liz II, having opened Parliament in her role as the monarch, saying what "her" government intends to do in the next session. Despite it being called her speech, the government writes it for her and she just reads it out (beautifully, mind).

However, having scoured the speech, we have failed to find one proposed Bill that involves the IT industry or the Internet. It's not a complete search - we haven't had time to go through all the Bills and, besides they aren't available at the moment. There is, for example, the Home Office's intention to bring in its daft anti-Net paedophile legislation - that'll be in the controversial new criminal justice Bill, but in what form?

In fact, it's worse than that because the legislation about creating super-regulator Ofcom will only be produced in draft form, so won't be punted through this time. In fact, it's even worse than that: they've also dropped the Bill to extend licensing hours - the only issue, incidentally, that Labour targeted at young voters in its text message mail-out. Bastards.

So what will be the main legislation from now until Autumn 2002? Well, there were 20 bills in total. The main ones were regarding schools and the NHS. Controversial ones will be welfare changes and more criminal justice. New home secretary Blunkett proposes to (retrospectively) get rid of the rule that you can't be tried twice for the same crime.

Good news for cases like the Stephen Lawrence murder. Bad news for hundreds of years of tradition.

The House of Lords reform will continue - killing off the rest of the hereditary peers (a sad loss really considering the ones remaining from the last cull stayed on because of their contribution to the Lords).

Hunting with dogs is due to be banned. That'll kick off. And then some changes by Gordon Brown who wants to encourage small businesses more. We don't know yet whether this is by tax breaks or grants.

The government also intends to make all-women shortlists for political seats legal in the interests of equality.

One thing we can all be sure on is that the government will get most of its Bills through with ease thanks to its huge majority. All the more reason to study the legislation carefully as the opposition's traditional deals for aiding (or rather, not preventing) a Bill's progress will be ineffective (again).

Incidentally, the BBC has done a very good at-a-glance summary of the speech here.

Bootnote

Amusingly, on the government's busiest day of the year for announcing its intentions, it has put out five of the most tedious press releases we have ever seen.

They are as follows: New hope for threatened Albatrosses and Petrels; Your local strategic partnership needs you!; FCO Family Bulletin; Cargo vessel rolls over fishing vessel; and Wigan is a good LEA, says Ofsted. Fascinating stuff. ®

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