This was a tired King’s Speech from a tired Government but there was at least one great announcement, says Nigel Nelson

Nigel Nelson
Nigel Nelson
GB News
Nigel Nelson

By Nigel Nelson

Published: 07/11/2023

- 16:18

'If His Majesty did not much like what he had to read out today he was not alone'

Most actors given a script they don’t think much of would turn to their director and ask: “Who wrote this guff?”

For fifteen minutes every year the monarch is effectively an actor performing a play entitled The King’s Speech.

He is there to mouth someone else’s words. And no point appealing to the director because that was Rishi Sunak - and he was the writer, too.

The King played his role with the professionalism we expect. The passionate environmentalist wouldn’t have much liked it when he got to the bit about “the future licensing of new oil and gas fields” but he didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow.

WATCH: The King's Speech in full

He might also have reflected on repeating “long-term” challenges/plans/decisions three times as he would need to be in his 140s to match the long-term reign of his mum.

So if His Majesty did not much like what he had to read out today he was not alone.

Dr George Dibb of the Centre for Economic Justice thought the energy security King Charles/Rish Sunak were banging on about is best delivered by “investing in renewables, not through new oil and gas licenses.”

And Energy Secretary Claire Coutinho admits that drilling more holes in the North Sea is unlikely to bring domestic energy bills down, only to put tax receipts up, which might please the Treasury but then Jeremy Hunt doesn’t have to pay the electricity bill there.

Andy Cook of the Centre of Social Justice dismissed the speech as merely an exercise in “tidying up a few loose ends” while the Royal College of Nursing complained it contained nothing to ease the staffing crisis in hospitals.

Even the right-wing Institute for Economic Affairs was unimpressed accusing the PM of “perpetuating Britain’s nit-picky overregulation, high tax, and low growth economic model.”

The National Autistic Society objected to a Mental Health Bill not making the cut, while the Joseph Rowntree Trust branded the speech “fundamentally inadequate”.

I’m sure someone somewhere must have complimentary things to say but, if so, it has not made it into in my inbox.

Turning future home owning leaseholders into freeholders to avoid punishing ground rents and service charges for little service would be more welcome if it also included flats and not just houses.

But at least Suella Braverman’s cruel plan to whip tents away from the homeless does not seem to be included in the next legislative programme.And did I detect a dig at the Home Secretary with a promise “to support veterans to whom so much is owed”? It’s too often veterans who end up homeless.

This was a tired King’s Speech from a tired government which has been in office for 13 years - which is about the long-term limit for any government nowadays. Margaret Thatcher lasted 13 years, and so did New Labour.

But I did find something in this speech to gladden the heart. Well, my heart at least. The end of the scheme which would have seen journalists pay the legal costs of those who sue them - even if the journalist wins.

So if anyone thinks I’ve libelled them here and a judge says I haven’t I will only have my own lawyer to pay. Not yours.

You may like