Simon Carr:

The Sketch: More a living will than a Queen's Speech

Share
Related Topics

"Check against delivery". That was the instruction on the front of the Queen's Speech. It's the one thing we don't have to worry about with our head of state. She won't get seized with inspiration and announce a "November Guarantee to create 30,000 jobs".

That was the highlight of the PM's speech in the Commons, incidentally. "Four new guarantees". We've already got the September Guarantee and now we are promised the January Guarantee. November and December? We'll just have to keep our nerve. It's a high-wire act without a net. How will we know that the guarantees worked? It depends whether anyone can remember what they are.

It all happened so fast. We glimpsed the PM's Day One Guarantee. No one was able to concentrate enough to find out what it was or what was guaranteed for Day Two or if it related to September or January. Informed opinion felt it might have something to do with ensuring that January starts on the 1st. We'll hold them to that.

It's probably been said before but it wasn't a Queen's Speech as much as a living will. They are to put into law things that they wanted to do themselves but couldn't. Thus, it will be illegal for future governments not to abolish child poverty. It'll be an offence not to give 0.7 per cent of GDP in foreign aid. It'll be breaking the law not to halve the deficit.

But as Cameron pointed out halving the deficit next year would take it back to 7 per cent of GDP, "the level that Denis Healey faced the last time Labour nearly bankrupted the country".

He said the PM's main interest wasn't in doing the right thing for the country but in trying to embarrass the Conservatives. It was "pathetic", he said, in that pleasantly demotic way.

The charges he made were more serious than he made them sound (he does scamper on, a bit). His every promise had turned to dust. There'd been a moral failure with the McBride smears and a monumental failure with the public finances.

There's no lack of material to accuse and satirise and vilify and torment Brown with. But he doesn't fall to pieces under Cameron's attack. Blair would have invented a new persona to really hurt his opponent. Something grave and saddened, perhaps.

But it was Frank Dobson's anecdote that lingered longest. In the 1930s a leftie campaigner was canvassing in a block of flats inveighing against German rearmament, the great cause of the day. The flat owner said: "Did you come up in the lift? It smells of pee, doesn't it? Can you stop people peeing in the lift?" No, the canvasser admitted. The reply: "If you can't stop people peeing in the lift how are you going to stop the re-armament of Germany?"

simoncarr@sketch.sc

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

£25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas