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Press Cycle 6 - Queens Speech
In stark contrast to this Queen's speech, which is a patchwork of mostly ludicrous promises, combined with the bare minimum of political authority to deliver - the Conservative alternative to the Ministry of All The Parties could not be any more different to the approach taken by Labour, where they have ducked and weaved to cobble together a remoaner majority of 1 - we have made it clear that the two most important issues of this Parliament; Brexit and the Union, would not be in danger if Harold Saxon was Prime Minister right now. Labour has weakened us domestically and internationally, we must stop them dead in their tracks before they have a chance to do any more damage. 
Rt Hon. Patrick Dundas MP | Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party
Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition
Member of Parliament for Moray (2019-Present)
"Nine years of Conservative economic policy built an economy that failed to deliver for the people of the United Kingdom." says Caroline Blakesley but 5 of these years included Liberal Democrats whom will hold keys of the Chief Secretary of the Treasury and a minister in the Treasury from a party whose leader still believes in austerity and willing to defend these 9 years of economic policy. If Caroline Blakesley genuinely believed that these policies were failure and wanted to take serious action against it, she wouldn't have placed the very people who have masterminded them and implemented it.
Brigitte Allard MP
Member for Stoke on Trent North
Leader of the Brexit Party

Media Darling/Fundraising Extraordinaire/Maverick/Constituency Darling(awarded by admins)
Despite what the Conservative Party and Brexit Party are saying, this government is committed to a programme of ending austerity and building a fairer economy across the United Kingdom. Those are campaign pledges that every party in the Government made at the last election and those are the policies that we will see carried out. For his part, the Health Secretary has made clear his commitment to increasing funding for the NHS - and going farther by ensuring that funding is ringfenced and protected for years to come. And while I admit we may not have always seen eye to eye, we are committed to moving forward together now: to deliver a better Britain and a secure NHS.
Caroline Blakesley MP DCB
Prime Minister (June 2019-)
MP for Manchester Central (2015-) | Labour
Traits: Fundraising Extraordionare, Campaign Guru, Media Darling, Constituency Pariah
As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, I was pleased to be able to support the Government in ensuring the Queen's Speech made explicit our dedication to upholding the Good Friday Agreement and restoring power-sharing in Stormont.

We will work with all parties in ensuring that the Assembly and Executive are able to come back together and work for the benefit of the people of Northern Ireland. The Union works best when the members of it support each other, not as the Tories did by creating borders between ourselves but as Labour are by committing to cooperate and listen.
James 'Jim' Kennedy MP
Home Secretary
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
MP for Wansbeck (2010-) | Labour and Cooperative
Traits: Media Darling, Backbench Favourite, Finite Resources
We begin the cycle with a trip down memory lane, and a headfirst collision with my "wall of nobody cares about a Second Referendum anymore", Grey runs headlong into it for a third(?) set of new teeth, Smith politely explains to him that walls are not made to be ran through and that the Queen's Speech is for what the Government will do. Ward backs Smith up with some nice words about ending austerity before Grey returns to savage the idea of eliminating tuition fees using some statistics and a nice fancy report, this is far more effective as a use of the Shadow Education Secretary's time. Mead provides an overview of why the speech is awesome and Calhoun attacks the proposed Second Referendum (louder for those at the back, I'm sure a few people still don't know the Tories hate the idea). Milne identifies the problem at the heart of the university system and explains why we need to do something, Grey changes tack to also slate a People's Vote before McCrimmon ends the page with a dig pointing out that 55% of voters voted for parties that backed one.

We start with a rather surreal comment from Grey next calling for Remain to be taken off of the table (now where have I heard that type of talk before?), then he follows up with talk about Trident which is as effective as the SNP stuff was earlier on, all it will take is a steadfast rebuttal and the discussion's over, but for now it's effective. Mr Wilson put together a very long comment that actually worked quite nicely in tying several threads together into a single discussion on why the Government sucks, it's probably as effective as you can get on the Trident issue. Then Smith takes the Trident issue off the table entirely by flatly rejecting the idea it could be defunded, Quinn provides backup followed by Lockhart and Blakesley. It was kind of weird to see four rebuttals to two press comments so if the Tories were simply attempting to tie up Labour resources, mission accomplished. Beyond that they managed to gee up their base and alienate Labour from the anti-nuclear crowd which could be a bonus I guess. Quinn is next in to talk about the benefits of a Labour Government whilst Laski rocks up to forewarn the Government to do exactly as she tells them or she'll torpedo the whole damn thing. Grey does a very good job of pointing out the contradictions of the Coalition, if he did so with a rather large helping of hyperbole, pointing out that each party gets a veto and one third of those vetoes are now wielded by a man who was on the Tory frontbench what? Six months ago? Running for Tory leader what? Five months ago? This was a very promising thread and I hope it gets developed more because it will really hurt Labour if this sort of mud can be made to stick.

McCrimmon enters page 3 by kind of (wilfully or not) missing the point of what made the Grey attack so powerful which weakens the effectiveness of his retort, Knight then proceeds to stick his foot all the way in it before pulling it back at the end. If Knight is speaking for the Tories then it would appear that they are not going to boycott the poll, probably a good idea, and his words that a vote against Labour's deal is not a vote against Brexit or a vote to Remain is a strong one which the Tories should cling onto and make damn sure sticks in the public mind. Saxon attempts next to spin his erroneous error in the House into a success of sorts for Tories, something Smith will not allow as he shuts them down and then attacks the Tory record in Government (somewhat unfairly as the Government only really fell into chaos in the last twelve or so months, even if that is all people can remember). Grey steps up to defend the record pointing at record low unemployment, growth, and tax cuts which make people very happy. Axon then makes a good point about his constituency and the benefits of this QS before Greenwood made a point about the Tory opposition to an NES. Saxon accuses the Government of using the QS as an exercise in party politics saying they couldn't possibly do all this in a year (by jove, imagine using the Queen to make a party political point...) before Grey attacks the Labour Party proposals with facts and logic... I mean the NUS' own statements on the matter. I would say that the Tories could have eeked out a win on this NES stuff but Grey's penchant for the hyperbolic overload is seeing his credibility take a knock, nobody seriously believes the Government would nationalise universities and nobody seriously believes that an NES is a Marxist power grab, maybe try reining it in to get a better reception? Smith points out that this is a QS packed with LD policies which helps legitimise the LDs in the minds of the voters as an equal partner in this Government.

Saxon kicked off page 4 with a rebuttal to the PM outlining what the Tories did for survivors of domestic abuse before we got the first entry of Ms Allard and boy did she go for the jugular. There is an innate discomfort in British politics when it comes to coalitions, the Tories were able to weaponise it to decimate the Libs in 2015 and Labour were able to use it themselves in the 20th Century to turn two Minority Governments into Majority Governments under Harold Wilson. Pointing out that the Labour Prime Minister just made a Tory frontbencher, who was on the Tory frontbench not half a year ago, the point guy for the NHS makes a lot of Labour Party supporters distinctly uncomfortable if not slightly revolted, this is a continuation of the attack Grey began at the end of page 2 and is beginning to become a very serious problem for Labour. Saxon fails to capitalise on this chink in the armour instead focusing on Labour's record on the NHS which, while not too strong, is a fair bit stronger than the Tory record in the minds of many Brits I would wager. Blakesely does some more generalised "this is great" stuff before Dundas falls into the pit of despair that is me having to mark another Trident comment when that debate was settled TWO PAGES AGO. Saxon again points out the reality of the situation for Labour, having to get a number of parties on side to do anything before Blakesley sits him down and gives him a damn good thrashing on the issue of the NHS. Then we get Allard back and she just fatally undercuts lots of Labour's comments because Mr Lascelles was the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, a department Labour have railed against the Tory handling of for years and years and years. She continues this line of attack, then striking against Lascelles for being Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Kennedy puts together a good little comment on the NHS before Andrew Summer shows up to attack the Government for their handling of Home Office affairs, then he follows Dundas into my ill graces with a comment on flipping Trident again.

Blakesley begins page 5 attacking Saxon for being more concerned with his position when he was DPM than he was about the country (referencing the perceived spat between Saxon and Russell as they jockied for power in the Croft Administration. Allard finds a new angle to attack Labour saying that they are basically selling out on everything, whether it's the ONP deal or the Brexit pragmatists who now support a PV, Goldman follows that up by laying out Tory policy on car parking fees and challenging Labour to match it. Kennedy returns with another excellently targeted comment on the need for a community-led approach and rejecting austerity, Allard quips back on the Lascelles front, at this point I think she has extracted all the goodness she can from this particular issue and unless the facts or spin change she won't be able to push Labour any lower for it. Dundas accuses the PM of doing a corrupt deal and having a Government that could fall apart at any notice and Allard tries to go again on Lascelles but with very limited success now. Kennedy comes back to support science and Blakesley makes a passionate pitch to be liked outside of London with her 1:4 pledge, Allard continues to flog a horse that is not just dead now, it has actively decayed and been turned into a pritt-stick. Dundas attacks the Government's deal, again, probably another dead horse by now while Allard continues her mission to make Lascelles permanently unwelcome in Labour clubs and pubs around the country to no effect. Blakesley and Kennedy round us off with good statements.

This was a very strong round for the most part with parties occasionally not knowing where exactly to draw the line. The Tory line on Trident was a good short-term gambit but it was only ever going to get neutralised, Labour's counter-attack was probably too strong tying up and wasting resources and statements that should maybe have gone to other areas of the debate. The dodgy deal/union/all that mess was getting a bit thin towards the end and the Lascelles drama equally ran its course (although it remains very effective because nobody in the Government really bothered to refute the central argument). This cycle was really defined for me by the Tories taking very specific things and running with them, sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not, but on balance I would say it was an effective strategy, Labour seemed more happy to talk generally and attack the Tory record. To my mind there is a place for that sort of thing but when the Tories are very specifically poking holes you need to have a good defence in those areas, not just a broad game. Towards the end the likes of Kennedy, and eventually Blakesley, were able to effectively take that under advisement and provide specific selling points. The Lib Dems did well in legitimising their existence in the Government and the Brexit Party did a great job savaging Labour for the ONP deal if it became a little bit dated by the end. This cycle is most likely a simple Labour loss rather than a win by anyone in particular, the opposition parties didn't do much to sell themselves only attack Labour, the Lib Dems are probably the only party that can expect to see a polling boost from this performance (although the QS will be examined and turned into a polling change as well so Labour and the Tories could still benefit somewhat) equally I don't really see the ONP themselves being hit too much because their base is mostly ex-Tories and centre-right folks anyway. XP to Kennedy, Blakesley, Grey, and Saxon. A mug of hot chocolate and a hug to Robert Lascelles after the personal battering he took.

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